The noncancer cells that surround pancreatic cancer, called the tumor microenvironment, shape the way a tumor grows, changes and responds to treatment. In a new study, biomedical engineer Aleksander Popel and graduate student Haoyang Mi analyzed the pancreatic tumor microenvironment with new computational approaches. They discovered that the way immune cells called myelomonocytes (green) cluster near pancreatic cancer cells (red) can be used to predict how likely a patient with pancreatic cancer is to respond to treatment and survive. Their findings may eventually have implications for how pancreatic cancer — the most deadly major cancer type — is treated.
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