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UAB DivisioDudeja 400x300n of Surgical Oncology Director and James P. Hayes, Jr., Endowed Professor in Gastrointestinal Oncology Vikas Dudeja, M.D., FACS,has received additional research funding from the Department of Defense totaling $2,119,086.

Dudeja is the principal investigator for the project entitled Hedgehog Pathway in Chronic Pancreatitis.

The objectives of this project are to evaluate hedgehog inhibition as a therapeutic tool for treating chronic pancreatitis, to determine how the hedgehog pathway in pancreatic stellate cells induces a pro-fibrotic response and to identify how the hedgehog pathway affects the immune environment in chronic pancreatitis.

The grant is divided into a four-year over $500,000 budget from September 30, 2023, to September 29, 2027

Dudeja will collaborate on this award with pediatric endocrinologist, Melena Bellin, M.D., from the University of Minnesota.

“My team and I are excited to further our knowledge and understanding of recurrent acute and chronic pancreatitis,” said Dudeja. “This substantial award gives us the opportunity to conduct thorough, longer-term research, and I look forward to the research updates we will make through this process.”

Dudeja has spent the last 14 years evaluating the pathobiology of pancreatic cancer and devising strategies to address its progression and other hepatobiliary malignancies.

As the Director of the Division of Surgical Oncology, Dudeja is an expert in the immune and stromal biology of pancreatic and other hepatobiliary malignancies with supported research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the VA Merit Program, and organizations including the Society of Surgical Oncology and the National Pancreas Foundation.

Last year, Dudeja alongside the Dudeja Lab, worked to identify potential treatments for acute pancreatitis, with funding provided by a U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity (USAMRAA) grant to study pirfenidone.