Even among cancers, pancreatic cancer is an especially sinister form of disease. The one-year survival rate is extremely low, and treatment progress has lagged behind that of many other malignancies.
A study published today in the journal Nature Medicine led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) describes a new therapeutic approach with potential for patients with pancreatic cancer. These researchers discovered a combination drug therapy that may effectively combat the disease. HCI researchers first observed anti-cancer impacts in a laboratory setting and, subsequently, in its first use in a human patient.
The study has already progressed to a clinical trial that is now open at HCI and will soon be open at other sites in the United States. Details about the clinical trial, called THREAD, are available under National Clinical Trial Number 03825289. The combination therapy uses two drugs already approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration for other diseases, including cancer. The new drug combination is administered through pills taken orally.
Pancreatic tumors are characterized by mutations in a gene called KRAS. When KRAS is mutated in this way, it sends constant signals that promote abnormal cell division and growth in cancer cells. As a result, tumors grow out of control. At the same time, like all cells, pancreatic cancer cells must recycle their components to provide building blocks for new growth in an essential cell function known as autophagy. Previous studies to combat pancreatic cancer that were focused either on the role of KRAS or on impacting autophagy were not effective.
The new HCI study, using an approach that simultaneously targets both abnormal KRAS signaling and the autophagy process, shows a strong response in mouse models and may be a promising therapy for patients with pancreatic cancer. Conan Kinsey, MD, PhD, a physician-scientist at Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Department of Internal Medicine at the U of U and Martin McMahon, PhD, a cancer researcher at HCI and Professor of Dermatology at the U of U, led the study.
“We were able to observe that the combination of these two drugs – which, when used individually, don’t have much of an impact on the disease – appears to have a very potent impact on the growth of pancreatic cancer,” says McMahon. “We have observed this in the lab in petri dishes, then in mouse models, and now in a pancreatic cancer patient on a compassionate use basis. Indeed, we proceeded from a petri dish to a patient in less than two years – a timeline that is rarely seen in medical science.”
The HCI-led research is bolstered by a separate study published in the same issue of the journal. This study outlines complementary findings regarding the effects of autophagy in pancreatic cancer in the laboratory setting and was led by Channing Der, PhD, Sarah Graham Kenan, PhD, and Kirsten Bryant, PhD, at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. McMahon and Der learned about the parallel nature of their research programs at a scientific meeting one year ago. Given the critical need for advances in pancreatic cancer therapies and the promise of their collective findings, they worked together to push their studies forward on a companion basis.
“In our paper, we show the response of a pancreatic cancer patient who had received surgery and multiple lines of chemotherapy prior to this combination,” said Kinsey, who was also the patient’s physician. “This patient, who has since succumbed to the disease, nevertheless had a remarkable response to these drugs for several months. We need to carefully evaluate this new combination therapy in the context of clinical trials to better understand if good responses might be seen in multiple patients. We also need to identify the specific features of any patient who may benefit, before any recommendation can be made about use on a larger scale.”
These preliminary findings are being rigorously scrutinized in clinical trials to observe and understand whether the combination of these drugs is safe and effective for pancreatic cancer patients. The trial is underway at HCI and is underway or planned at the University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University in New York.
“In publishing how this new approach of mixing two medicines typically associated with malaria and melanoma can treat pancreatic tumors with KRAS mutations, we are hoping the clinical trial supported by the Pancreatic Cancer Collective’s New Therapies Challenge Grant will help us learn how to best administer these medicines, so that we can maximize the benefit for as many patients as possible,” said David Tuveson, MD, PhD, Lustgarten’s Chief Scientist, Director of the Cancer Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Co-Scientific Leader of the Collective.
The Latest on: Pancreatic cancer
via Google News
The Latest on: Pancreatic cancer
- Inside Justice Ginsburg’s Long Battle With Pancreatic Canceron September 22, 2020 at 6:02 am
Several news outlets take a look at the cancer that killed Justice Ruth Ginsburg. Time: How Cancer Shaped Justice R ...
- Lantern Pharma teams up with Fox Chase Cancer Center in pancreatic canceron September 22, 2020 at 5:16 am
(NASDAQ:LTRN) will collaborate with Philadelphia's Fox Chase Cancer Center on the development of LP-184 in pancreatic cancer.
- AIM ImmunoTech's Ampligen extends survival in pancreatic cancer patientson September 22, 2020 at 4:32 am
A medical team at Erasmus University Medical Center (EUMC) reported a significant survival benefit from Ampligen in patients with locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer following ...
- Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Market Global Analysis, Segmentation, Demand, Share, Insights, Size, Growth, Trends, Demand Forecast to 2030on September 21, 2020 at 10:24 pm
The Business Research Company offers “Pancreatic Cancer Drugs Global Market Report 2020-30: Covid 19 Impact And Recovery" in its research report store. It is the most comprehensive report available on ...
- Pancreatic Cancer Awareness advocate reflects on Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s deathon September 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm
“Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way others will join you” a quote from Ginsburg that inspired West Virginia’s community advocate with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Annette ...
- Iowan hopes Ginsburg death brings more awareness of pancreatic canceron September 21, 2020 at 3:51 pm
Iowans whose lives have been touched by pancreatic cancer are optimistic Friday’s death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg allows people to understand more about what’s considered the ...
- As nation mourns Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a look at advances in pancreatic cancer treatmenton September 21, 2020 at 2:31 pm
One of the most effective preventive measures is germline sequencing, which can detect gene mutations known to increase disease risk.
- What is pancreatic cancer? Symptoms, detection, treatment and moreon September 21, 2020 at 7:55 am
The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from complications of pancreatic cancer comes just two months after she revealed back in July that she was being treated for a recurrence of ...
- Ruth Bader Ginsberg Died of Pancreatic Cancer. Here are the Silent Signs You Have It.on September 21, 2020 at 4:30 am
If caught early, pancreatic cancer is treatable. Read on to discover the most crucial SOS pancreas alert signals. Catch yours before they grow.
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies from Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer—Here's What That Meanson September 19, 2020 at 10:11 pm
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday due to complications from cancer, after serving on the court for more than 27 years. She was 87 years old. In a news release issued by the US ...
via Bing News