The Sherman lab will investigate the role of stroma—the supportive tissue surrounding a tumor—in the evolution of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). PDAC is a unique cancer in which 50% to 90% of the tumor volume is occupied by dense stroma, the development of which is driven by cancer-associated fibroblasts. Recent research suggests that pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) are the originators of these cancer-associated fibroblasts important for driving tumor progression. We will use a novel mouse model to track how PSCs may give rise to cancer-associated fibroblasts and determine how they subsequently contribute to the progression of PDAC. These efforts will shed light on the importance of the stroma in PDAC and the potential for stroma-based therapeutic development.