Identifying and targeting critical drivers of pancreatic cancer

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (pancreatic cancer or PDAC) is the deadliest cancer in large part due to aggressive metastasis, resistance to conventional treatment options, and a lack of druggable “drivers.”

The Abel Lab focuses extensively on the transcription factor, HNF1A, which we have identified as a novel driver of many malignancy programs in PDAC.

Lab Research

Research focus

Cell slides from a microscope

Ongoing research in the lab is examining the role of HNF1A in promoting metastasis of PDAC cells to distant organs, as well as its role in promoting resistance to targeting the oncogene KRAS, a universal driver of the disease.

In addition to identifying novel roles for HNF1A in pancreatic cancer, we are also exploring modalities to target HNF1A. Ongoing research in our lab has found that HNF1A expression is potently blocked by bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein inhibitors (BET-inhibitors). These inhibitors elicit anti-tumor activity that is highly dependent on HNF1A.

Beyond HNF1A, our lab is committed to defining the biological drivers of PDAC, particularly transcriptional regulators, with the long-term goal of identifying new therapeutic options to treat the disease.

See the science


You’ll find articles from the Abel Lab in numerous high-impact journals.

Read the research


Get to know our principal investigator, post-docs, and trainees.

Meet our team

Inside the Abel Lab

Every day, Dr. Abel and his lab team embrace the motto “The way out is through.” 

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R37 Merit Award

R37 Merit Award Badge

In early 2023, Dr. Abel received an R01 research grant from the National Cancer Institute for his work targeting HNF1A-mediated therapeutic resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

A few months later, his grant was selected to receive additional support through the prestigious Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) (R37) Award. The MERIT awards “provide long-term support to outstanding, experienced investigators.”

R37 Merit AwardsGrant #R37CA275961

Previous research funding sources

Contact Information

Contact us

Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center  
Elm and Carlton Streets  
Buffalo, NY 14263  

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