Pancreatic Cancer News

Pancreatic Cancer BREAKTHROUGH: Potential cure on the horizon

Pancreatic cancer survival rates have barely improved in 50 years and has the worst prognosis of any common cancer, claiming on average 9,500 lives a year in the UK. However, a recent breakthrough in research could potentially provide a cure within the next five years.

Pancreatic Cancer BREAKTHROUGH: Potential cure on the horizon

Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research in London have announced ground-breaking research in the fight against this devastating disease. In mice trials, the treatment improved survival rates by 40%.

The treatment is a combination of two treatment types that are already used in hospitals.

  • One of the treatments is immunotherapy, where, a drug is used to enhance the immune system to combat the cancer. The drug used is called a checkpoint inhibitor, a drug that blocks proteins that prevent the immune system from attacking the cancer cells. By administering this drug, the immune system can then work to combat the cancer.
  • The second treatment, known as high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), involves blasting the tumour with ultrasound waves. In doing so, it creates holes within the thick walls surrounding the pancreatic tumour, allowing the immunotherapy drugs to pass through and attack the cancer at the source.

So far, this combination of treatment types has only been tested in mice with pancreatic cancer. The mice lived 25% longer than those only given HIFU and 35% longer than those only given the immunotherapy drugs. They also lived 40% longer than those that were not treated at all.

Dr Petros Mouratidis, a collaborator on the research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reported that,

“this could mean an extra few months of life for humans.”

It is also worth noting that the mice only received a single treatment. Given as a course of treatment, the two-in-one therapy could potentially be given as a cure. He expects the treatment to also work in the latter stages of the disease. This is vital given that the majority of pancreatic cancer cases are not diagnosed until it has spread around the body. By this point, it is too late to be cured via the only potential cure, surgery. However, by finding a potential cure for pancreatic cancer at all stages of prognosis, survival rates are expected to increase.

Human trials for this treatment are expected to start within 2 years and if successful, could be distributed only 3 years later.

Ali Stunt CEO and Founder of Pancreatic Cancer Action said,

“These are exciting developments, however much further study is needed including how effective this treatment would be through human trials.”

To understand more about how pancreatic cancer is devastating the lives of patients and their families/carers, read their stories here:

Pancreatic Cancer Action does not fund any research that involves animal testing.