Targeting senescence cells in pancreatic cancer

Cellular senescence is a programmed response to oncogenic (tumour-causing) stress that aims to halt the expansion of cells with malignant potential. It does this by stopping the proliferation of pre-cancerous lesions and recruitment of the immune system for their elimination. If these processes fail, senescent cells create chronic inflammation and suppress the immune response, which promotes resistance to therapy, progression of tumours, and relapse of tumours.

Using animal models and genomic engineering technologies, this project aims to eliminate senescent cells in the pancreas with a novel class of drugs known as senolytics, which were developed by the research team. The findings of this research will provide a proof of concept for new modalities of treatment against pancreatic cancer. The project is being implemented by the Université de Montréal, the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel), and the Federal University of Parana (Brazil).

This project was selected for funding through the third research competition of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program, a partnership between IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Israel Science Foundation, and the Azrieli Foundation.

Project ID


Project status



36 months

IDRC Officer

Fabiano Santos

Total funding

CA$ 669,800


Canada-Israel Health Research Program

Project Leader

Gerardo Ferbeyre


Université de Montréal

Institution Country


Institution Website