New drug could block pancreatic cancer growth

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Researchers have developed a new drug called Matavert that could prevent the most common type of pancreatic cancer from growing and spreading.

The study, led by Cedars-Sinai and published in the journal Gastroenterology, also showed that the drug could prevent patients from developing resistance to currently used pancreatic cancer chemotherapies. In fact, treatment improved survival rates by as much as 50 percent in one of the series of mouse studies. 

Lead author of the study, Mouad Edderkaoui, said:

This is an exciting step toward improving survival rates in pancreatic cancer patients….If the results are confirmed in humans, we could have a drug with the potential to significantly extend the lives of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is very difficult to treat”

pancreatic cancer survival

Around 95% of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed with PDAC, which develops from cells that line the ducts in the pancreas. This form of cancer is especially difficult to treat, senior author of the study, Stephen J. Pandol, explains why:

The cancer cells prompt normal cells to produce pancreatic scar tissue. The scar tissue makes it difficult for chemotherapy agents and blood to enter the pancreas. 

The cancer and stellate cell interaction also creates an environment that stimulates local tumor growth and cancer spread to distant sites in the body.

Additionally, the activity levels of certain enzymes rev up, fueling resistance to cancer treatments.

Thoughts from PCA

Although this research is in it’s early stages, this is a really exciting and promising study. Hopefully, in the future clinical trials will provide insight into whether this drug will help improve survival rates for pancreatic cancer patients.

Currently the disease has the worst survival of all 18 common forms of cancer (less than 7%) – this statistic has hardly changed in almost 50 years.

In addition, we know that chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer can be difficult to tolerate. If this drug improves the impact the chemotherapy has on the pancreatic tumour, then we hope it may be possible make treatment easier to tolerate.

We hare really looking forward to seeing how this research will progress and ultimately, help pancreatic cancer patients.

About pancreatic cancer

Currently, pancreatic cancer is the UKs fifth biggest cancer killer, however, it is predicted to become one of the top 4 cancer killers by 2026. In the UK, approximately 10,000 people are newly diagnosed each year. Pancreatic cancer affects men and women equally with incidence increasing from the age of 45. The average age at diagnosis is 72.

Help us take action!

We need to act now! If you would like to help us take action Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to get involved. Find out more by clicking here. 


Read more about the study here:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180925075105.htm