Hidayatullah G. Munshi, MD
Dr. Munshi is an oncologist who is interested in understanding the role and regulation of the pronounced ‘fortress-like’ stromal reaction present in pancreatic cancer. His laboratory has shown that the key proteinase MMP-14 that is required for growth and invasion in the collagen microenvironment is upregulated in human pancreatic tumors. His laboratory has demonstrated there is intricate interplay between collagen, MMP-14, and TGF-beta signaling that promotes pancreatic cancer invasion; represses tumor-suppressive microRNAs; and provides critical survival and repair signals to mediate chemoresistance in pancreatic cancer cells. His laboratory has defined feed-forward amplification loops involving collagen, MMP-14 and TGF-beta signaling that further promote the establishment and maintenance of the desmoplastic reaction. Dr. Munshi’s laboratory has also been examining the role of Snail family of transcription factors in pancreatic cancer progression. His laboratory has found that there is also significant interplay between collagen, Snail and TGF-beta signaling that contributes to pancreatic cancer fibrosis and tumor progression. Overall objective of Dr. Munshi’s research is to eventually develop treatment strategies to breach the stromal fortress that not enables metastatic forays into normal tissue but also acts as a nearly impenetrable barrier for therapeutic drug delivery.