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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Gail Matters’ research focuses on novel ways to diagnose and treat pancreatic cancer. In collaboration with Dr. James Adair’s lab at University Park, she has demonstrated effective encapsulation of phosphorylated analogs of the chemotherapy drugs 5-FU and gemcitabine into calcium-phosphosilicate nanoparticles (CPSNPs). Her research group also has identified DNA aptamers, small oligonucleotides, which bind to receptors on the surface of cancer cells, the CCK2 receptor. These aptamers have been used to target CPSNPs specifically to tumor cells - CCK2R-specific targeting aptamers enhance the delivery of therapeutic cargos into tumors in vivo. In addition to delivering chemotherapeutic compounds for treatment of pancreatic tumors, these CCK2R-aptamer targeted CPSNPs can also encapsulate imaging agents for early detection of pre- cancerous lesions.

Another characteristic of pancreatic tumors is dense, fibrotic stroma that limits diffusion of therapeutic and imaging agents into tumors. Her research group has characterized a small molecule antagonist of the CCK2R, proglumide, which reduces tumor fibrosis in mouse models of pancreatic cancer. On-going studies combine proglumide with a standard of care chemotherapy drug for pancreatic cancer, gemcitabine, to determine if proglumide-mediated fibrosis reduction enhances the efficacy of gemcitabine.

Finally, the Matters research group examines how cancer cells communicate with other cells within the tumor microenvironment (TME) to enhance tumor progression. Small vesicles known as exosomes are secreted by cancer cells and fuse with other cells in the TME such as macrophages. Exosomes from AsPC-1, an ascites-derived human PDAC cell line, contained much higher levels of the bioactive lipid arachidonic acid (AA), and fused at a higher rate with macrophages than did exosomes from other PDAC cell lines. Furthermore, macrophages treated with AsPC-1 exosomes had significantly increased secretion of pro-tumoral bioactive molecules. These results demonstrate that tumor cell exosomes alter macrophage functions in ways that contributes to tumor progression.

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Tiopronin Medicine & Life Sciences
Pancreatic Neoplasms Medicine & Life Sciences
meprin A Medicine & Life Sciences
Metalloproteases Medicine & Life Sciences
Neoplasms Medicine & Life Sciences
Tumors Chemical Compounds
Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Medicine & Life Sciences
Genes Medicine & Life Sciences

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Projects 1988 2022

chronic illness
Cholecystokinin B Receptor
Pancreatic Neoplasms
Nucleotide Aptamers

Novel Nanoparticle Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer

Matters, G., Kester, M. & Kester, M.

National Institutes of Health


Project: Research project

Pancreatic Neoplasms

Research Output 1980 2019

1 Citation (Scopus)

Conductance-Based Biophysical Distinction and Microfluidic Enrichment of Nanovesicles Derived from Pancreatic Tumor Cells of Varying Invasiveness

Moore, J. H., Varhue, W. B., Su, Y. H., Linton, S. S., Farmehini, V., Fox, T. E., Matters, G., Kester, M. & Swami, N. S., Aug 20 2019, In : Analytical chemistry. 91, 16, p. 10424-10431 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Multiphoton and harmonic generation imaging methods enable direct visualization of drug nanoparticle carriers in conjunction with vasculature in fibrotic prostate tumor mouse model

Abraham, T., Clawson, G., McGovern, C. O., Edris, W., Tang, X., Adair, J. H. & Matters, G., Jan 1 2019, Imaging, Manipulation, and Analysis of Biomolecules, Cells, and Tissues XVII. Tarnok, A., Leary, J. F. & Farkas, D. L. (eds.). SPIE, 108811T. (Progress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE; vol. 10881).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Drug Carriers
Harmonic generation
7 Citations (Scopus)

Characterising cis-regulatory variation in the transcriptome of histologically normal and tumour-derived pancreatic tissues

Zhang, M., Lykke-Andersen, S., Zhu, B., Xiao, W., Hoskins, J. W., Zhang, X., Rost, L. M., Collins, I., Bunt, M. V. D., Jia, J., Parikh, H., Zhang, T., Song, L., Jermusyk, A., Chung, C. C., Zhou, W., Matters, G. L., Kurtz, R. C., Yeager, M., Jensen, T. H. & 13 others, Brown, K. M., Ongen, H., Bamlet, W. R., Murray, B. A., McCarthy, M. I., Chanock, S. J., Chatterjee, N., Wolpin, B. M., Smith, J. P., Olson, S. H., Petersen, G. M., Shi, J. & Amundadottir, L., Mar 2018, In : Gut. 67, 3, p. 521-533 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Quantitative Trait Loci
Pancreatic Neoplasms
Nonsense Mediated mRNA Decay
7 Citations (Scopus)

Tumor-promoting effects of pancreatic cancer cell exosomes on THP-1-derived macrophages

Linton, S. S., Abraham, T., Liao, J., Clawson, G. A., Butler, P. J., Fox, T., Kester, M. & Matters, G. L., Nov 2018, In : PloS one. 13, 11, e0206759.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

pancreatic neoplasms
Pancreatic Neoplasms
2 Citations (Scopus)

Utilizing peptide ligand GPCRs to image and treat pancreatic cancer

Matters, G. L. & Harms, J. F., Jun 1 2018, In : Biomedicines. 6, 2, 65.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
Pancreatic Neoplasms