Promising new pancreatic cancer treatment

Magical Realist Offline
PORTLAND, Ore. — "A team of scientists in Oregon have developed a new therapy that, if approved, could significantly increase a patient's odds of surviving pancreatic cancer.

The scientists are at both Oregon State University's (OSU) College of Pharmacy and at the Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care at Oregon Health and Science University's (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute.

Doctors say it depends on when the cancer is first detected, but the odds of surviving usually range from 11%-30%. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth deadliest type of cancer.

Recently Alex Trebek and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were added to the list of those who died from the disease.

For the last eight years, Adam Alani and his team at OSU have been working on a drug that would attack certain types of cancer — most notably those that are considered hypoxic, or low in oxygen, like pancreatic cancer.

"It's a game of patience and perseverance and eventually you're going to have something that breaks through the process." Alani said.

What broke through for them could be a breakthrough in the fight to defeat cancer. Cancer in the pancreas is particularly difficult to fight. When it develops, it creates its own micro-environment — putting up a sort of shield that protects it from drugs trying to defeat it. It's also very hypoxic, dropping the oxygen levels in the cells around it from a normal 12% to less than 1%.

So Alani's team used the very defense that the pancreatic cancer tumor uses to defend itself, to beat it.

They created a drug that's protected from low oxygen levels that, helping it survive longer and have more effectiveness in attacking the cancer.

"We spent a lot of time trying to come up with the best package for them and then we said ok, now we have the best package and now let's see if they're going to work or not," Alani said.

There are no early detection screenings for pancreatic cancer. Co-Director of the Brenden-Colson Center for Pancreatic Care Dr. Brett Sheppard says that usually when signs of the cancer present itself, it's too late.

"For pancreatic cancer you have the patient turning jaundiced or having abdominal pain, which is not really detection because by then, the disease is fairly far along," Dr. Sheppard said.

Alani's team provided the drug, and Sheppard's team provided the necessary tissues and cancer cells to put those drugs to work on.

"This is an example of collaboration between two different sites and it's how we make progress in this world." Dr. Sheppard said.

Through trial and error and using mice as research, both teams found that after 100 days the cancer in the mice was gone.

"We looked at the tumor tissue all over it and it become more responsive to the treatment, and this is why we ended with a tumor in general cured in the mice and it did not reoccur again." Alani said.

That gives someone like Dr. Sheppard, that has spent his entire career trying to find a cure, hope.

"It not only gives me hope, but I hope that it gives patients and their families hope, because we've made a lot of progress." Sheppard said.

Dr. Sheppard said using this as a viable treatment against pancreatic cancer is still a few years away. It would need to go through multiple phases of human trials and get regulatory approval."
C C Offline
One of hubby's uncles married a younger Filipina who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years prior.

Years later, she's still around, and he's the one seemingly limping about with Old Man Reaper clinging to one leg.

I guess it turned out to be a good gamble on his part, though he had to become a Catholic.

PRIEST: "Quite right. Though interfaith marriages are no longer taboo, God still rewards stubborn Pinays with miracles."
Magical Realist Offline
One of my aunts just passed away from it. Her father also died of it. Other than that my family including all my cousins have been luckily spared the the big C. As a neurotic hypochondriac I thrive on the latest terminal illness consuming my mind. If it isn't cancer it's stroke. If it isn't stroke it's sudden heart failure. One of my recent obsessions has been colon cancer, but I just got my colon screening results back yesterday and am negative. It's one less toe in the grave. I'll take it!
confused2 Offline
MR Wrote:As a neurotic hypochondriac I thrive on the latest terminal illness consuming my mind.
C C Offline
Gallstones may predict higher risk for pancreatic cancer

INTRO: A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer may feel like a death sentence because this fast-moving disease is often discovered at a later stage, when it's harder to treat.

Now, a new study offers hope for earlier diagnosis, finding an association between recent gallstone disease and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

Patients diagnosed with PDAC were six times more likely to have had gallstones sometime within the year before they were diagnosed than patients without cancer, the researchers found.

[...] The study also found that patients who had gallstone disease and pancreatic cancer were more likely to be diagnosed at earlier stages and also more likely to receive curative surgery, Papageorge noted... (MORE - details)

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