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Vijaya Ramachandran, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Research Interests

     Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States. Although significant advances are beginning to be made into the management of the disease, the 5- year survival rate has not improved over the past 25 years. The high mortality rate is due to the high incidence of metastatic disease at initial diagnosis, the aggressive clinical course and the failure of systemic therapies and the standard care of chemotherapeutic treatment, gemcitabine (gem) is less beneficial because of the development of resistance to gem. Therefore, there is an urgent need for improved understanding of the molecular biology of the disease. Early detection and effective treatments are the utmost needs of pancreatic cancer which could be addressed by identifying good biomarkers and molecular targets against pancreatic cancer. Microarray profiling identified that several molecules has been differentially expressed in pancreatic cancer.

     Real-time quantitative PCR and immunolocalization in tissue array validated the expression profiles of those molecules. Functional characterization was conducted by in vitro and in vivo experiments and those which increased the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer on over-expression and decreased the pancreatic cancer cell growth were considered as good therapeutic targets. Identification of targets is of limited value without a means to manipulate the targets. Hence, experimental therapeutic intervention was carried out by means of pharmacological drugs, siRNA, peptides and antibodies against the therapeutic targets. Manipulation of molecules to further sensitize the tumors for standard chemotherapeutic drugs was also tested. Molecular intervention of Adrenomedullin and Anterior gradient-2 proved to be very successful in reducing the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer and increasing the sensitivity of the chemotherapeutic drugs. Further validation of new molecules is underway. Validation of candidate biomarkers for early detection of pancreatic cancer is also ongoing.

     Diabetes mellitus is a prelude for pancreatic cancer; metastasis and cachexia are associated with end-stage of the disease. The mechanism behind the development of these two conditions is not understood. Difference in glucose intolerance, metastasis and cachexia formation in tumors developed with different pancreatic cancer cell lines suggested a way for differential expression pattern of genes which is under construction now.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Unit Number: 953
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: 2SCRB2.2010
Phone: 713-792-9134
Fax: 713-563-8986

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2000 University of Madras, Chennai, India, PHD, Medical Biochemistry
1995 University of Madras, Chennai, India, MPhil, Medical Biochemistry
1994 Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India, MS, Biochemistry
1992 Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India, BS, Biochemistry


Institutional Committee Activities

Liaison-Cancer Biology Department, Women Faculty Program (WFP), 2010-present

Honors and Awards

2009 Educational Award, International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology
2008 Education Award, International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology (ISGIO)
2008 Travel Award, American Pancreatic Association and International Association of Pancreatology (APA-IAP)
2007 Educational Award, International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology (ISGIO)
2006 Basic Science Distinction Poster, American Pancreatic Association of Pancreatology (APA-IAP)
2006 Education Award, International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology (ISGIO)
2006 Travel Scholarship, American Pancreatic Association and International Association of Pancreatology (APA-IAP)
1998 Best Young Scientist Research Award for Cancer Research (Mrs. Thangam Vasudevan Memorial Award), Indian Association of BioMedical Scientists
1996-1999 Senior Research Fellowship, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Centre (CSIR)
1992 Gold Medal in English, Madurai Kamaraj University

Professional Memberships

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
Member, 2005-present
American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
Member, 2007-present
American Pancreatic Association (APA)
Member, 2004-present
Indian Association of Biomedical Scientists (IABMS)
Member, 1998-present
International Society of Gastrointestinal Oncology (ISGIO)
Member, 2006-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Ramachandran V, Arumugam T, Langley R, Hwang RF, Vivas-Mejia P, Sood AK, Lopez- Berestein G, Logsdon CD. The ADMR receptor mediates the effects of Adrenomedullin on pancreatic cancer cells and on the cells of the tumor microenvironment. PLoS ONE 4(10):e7502, 10/2009.
2. Arumugam T, Ramachandran V, Fournier K, Wang H, Marquis L, Collison E, Abbruzzese JL, Gallick GE, Logsdon CD, McConkey DJ, Choi W. Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition Contributes to Global Drug Resistance in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer Research 69(14):5820-8, 7/2009. PMID: 19584296.
3. Dallas NA, Gray MJ, Xia L, Fan F, Buren G, Gauer P, Samuel S, Lim SJ, Arumugam T, Ramachandran V, Wang H, Ellis LM. Neutrophil-2-Mediated Tumor Growth and Angiogensis in Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. Clinical Cancer Research 14(24):8052-60, 12/2008.
4. Pan X, Arumugam T, Yamamoto T, Levin PA, Ji B, Ramachandran V, Lopez-Berestein G, McConkey D, Logsdon CD. NF kappa B p65/relA silencing induces apoptosis and increases gemcitabine effectiveness in a subset of pancreatic cancer cells. Clinical Cancer Research 14(24):8143-51, 12/2008. PMID: 19088029.
5. Ramachandran V, Arumugam T, Wang H, Logsdon CD. Anterior Gradient (AGR2) is Expressed and Secreted During the Development of Pancreatic Cancer and Promotes Cancer Cell Survival. Cancer Research 68(19):1-8, 2008. PMID: 18829536.
6. Hwang, RF, Moore, T Arumugam, T, Ramachandran V, Amos, KD, Rivera A, Ji B, Evans, DB, Logsdon, CD. Cancer-associated stromal fibroblasts promote pancreatic tumor progression. Cancer Research 68(3):918-26, 2008. PMCID: PMC2519173.
7. Tong Z, Kunnumakkara AB, Wang H, Matsuo Y, Diagaradjane P, Harikumar KB, Ramachandran V, Sung B, Chakraborty A, Bresalier RS, Logsdon C, Aggarwal BB, Krishnan S, Guha S. Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin: A Novel Suppressor of Invasion and Angiogenesis in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancer Research 68(15):6100-8, 2008.
8. Simeone, DM, Ji B, Banerjee M, Arumugam T, Li D, Anderson M, Bamberger, AM, Greenson, J, Brand RE, Ramachandran V, Logsdon CD. CEACAM1, a novel serum biomarker for pancreatic cancer. Pancreas 34(4):436-43, 5/2007. PMID: 17446843.
9. Ramachandran V, Arumugan T, Hwang RF, Greenson J, Simeone DM, Logsdon CD. Adrenomellin is expressed in pancreatic cancer and stimulates cell growth and invasion in an autocrine manner via the ADMR receptor. Cancer Research 67(6):2666-75, 3/2007. PMID: 17363587.
10. Arumugam T, Ramachandran V, Logsdon CD. Cromolyn blocks S100P activation of RAGE and improves gemcitabine effectiveness in pancreatic cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst 98(24):1806-18, 12/2006.

Book Chapters

1. DJ McConkey, W Choi, K Fournier, L Marquis, V Ramachandran, T Arumugam. Molecular Characterization of Pancreatic cell lines (Chapter 20). In: Handbook of Pancreatic Cancer. Springer: New York, 2009.
2. V Ramachandran and S Ramaswamy. Characterisation of nuclear pore complex oxalate binding protein - gp210 in “Kidney Stones” (Eds. Loris Borghi, et al.). In: Proceedings of VIII European symposium on Urolithiasis, pp.213-217, 1999.

Last updated: 12/18/2012