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Mysterious Tuft Cells Found to Play Role in Pancreatitis

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Persistent inflammation of the pancreas (chronic pancreatitis) is a known risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer, the third-deadliest cancer in the United States. Tuft cells–cells sensitive to chemical (chemosensory) changes typically found in the intestines and respiratory tract–had previously been discovered in the pancreas, but their function has largely remained a mystery.

Now, a team of Salk scientists led by Professor Geoffrey Wahl and Staff Scientist Kathleen DelGiorno has uncovered the formation of tuft cells during pancreatitis and the surprising role of tuft cells in immunity, using mouse models of pancreatitis. The findings, published in Frontiers in Physiology on February 14, 2020, could lead to the development of new biomarkers to test for pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. Read more . . . 

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