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
- Mutant KRAS and p53 cooperate to drive pancreatic cancer metastasison April 11, 2021 at 9:53 am
Researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered that mutant KRAS and p53, the most frequently mutated genes in pancreatic cancer, interact through the CREB1 ...
- Immune-stimulating drug before surgery shows promise in early-stage pancreatic canceron April 11, 2021 at 9:48 am
Giving early-stage pancreatic cancer patients a CD40 immune-stimulating drug helped jumpstart a T cell attack to the notoriously stubborn tumor microenvironment before surgery and other treatments ...
- Dr Russell Langan Details Workflow for Cloud-Based Technology to Manage Pancreatic Canceron April 11, 2021 at 4:22 am
which is the state's only NCI designated comprehensive cancer center, we are able to immediately identify a patient with a pancreatic abnormality or a pancreatic cyst. That patient will then be ...
- Popular vitamin used to keep skin clear and healthy could hold the key to treating CANCERon April 10, 2021 at 4:40 pm
An Australian biotech entrepreneur has developed a new way of dispensing powerful chemicals found in Vitamin E, that could be used as a treatment for pancreatic cancer and fatty liver disease. The ...
- After Losing Our Dad to Pancreatic Cancer, We Got Genetic Testingon April 10, 2021 at 8:00 am
Editor’s note: Before Melissa Soukup joined PanCAN as a full-time staff member, she and her sisters were dedicated volunteers – because they lost their father to pancreatic cancer in 2011. Melissa, ...
- Pancreatic Cancer To Be The Second Leading Cause Of Death In U.S.on April 8, 2021 at 10:08 am
Rankings of incidence and death across cancer types will undergo important changes in the U.S in the next two decades. (Shutterstock) MANHATTAN BEACH, CA — In the next two decades, rankings of ...
- Pancreatic cancer surgery treatments down during pandemic, survey findson April 7, 2021 at 9:11 am
Fewer than a third of specialist hospitals are delivering the same number of pancreatic cancer surgeries compared with before the pandemic, a new survey has suggested. Hospitals with large intensive ...
- New Paper Highlights Urgent Need for Pancreatic Cancer Progresson April 7, 2021 at 8:18 am
The new study estimates that the number of deaths caused by pancreatic cancer will surpass colorectal cancer deaths before 2030 – moving it from the third to the second leading cause of cancer-related ...
- Lipocalin 2 mediates appetite suppression during pancreatic cancer cachexiaon April 6, 2021 at 10:47 am
We demonstrate that LCN2 is robustly upregulated in murine models of pancreatic cancer, its expression is associated with reduced food consumption, and Lcn2 deletion is protective from ...
- miR-30d suppresses proliferation and invasiveness of pancreatic cancer by targeting the SOX4/PI3K-AKT axis and predicts poor outcomeon April 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm
Aberrant expression of miR-30d is associated with the development and progression of several human cancers. However, its biological roles and underlying mechanisms in pancreatic cancer are largely ...
via Bing News