Associate Professor of Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Research Projects

Dr. Igor Astsaturov focuses on the pathogenesis and signaling in pancreatic cancer. As a translational investigator with the long-term goal to develop new therapies for pancreatic cancer, his lab has a discovery platform consisting of: 1) a large panel of patient derived models (PDX) paired with cell cultures of reprogrammed pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells; 2) single-cell RNA sequencing; and 3) genetic mouse models of pancreatic cancer. Using these technologies, his lab is investigating the preclinical activity of new drugs for pancreatic cancer and is seeking genetic determinants for chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance.

In collaboration with Dr. Darren Carpizo of the University of Rochester, they discovered the neuronal axon guidance molecule Netrin-1 in Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) liver metastases. A clinical trial will soon begin and treat early stage Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomal patients with an anti-Netrin-1 antibody. The trial will measure the efficacy and feasibility of the antibody.

With funding from NFCR, the teams will obtain patient’s circulating tumor cells (CTCs) to explore epigenetic changes (changes without mutations) of metastatic PDAC, known as epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) – a process where epithelial cells change and gain capacity to migrate. In the CTCs, they will identify biomarkers of PDAC and to response to the antibody treatment.

Using CTCs from PDAC patients in this first-in-man clinical trial, this research will allow the scientists to understand more deeply how this new therapeutic antibody impacts the biology of metastatic pancreatic cancer.


Dr. Igor Atsaturov is a physician-scientist at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA and the Paul F. Engstrom Associate Professor in Oncology. He serves as a Co-Director of The Marvin and Concetta Greenberg Pancreatic Cancer Institute and a Co-Leader for the Center for Immunology. He received his Ph.D. in Hematology and lymphoproliferative disorders at the Russian Academy Research Centr for Hematology, Moscow. He received his medical training at the I.M. Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, Moscow. Dr. Astsaturov completed post-doctoral training in immunology at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He completed his medical fellowship in Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

Igor Astsaturov, M.D., Ph.D.

The National Foundation for Cancer Research wishes to thank the Sorenson Legacy Foundation for its generous support to expand on this critical research initiative.

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