Sunday 5 Jan 2014 10:13 pm by Aidan Radnedge for Metro
A treatment for one of the deadliest cancers has been uncovered by British researchers, who say it could wipe out the disease in less than a week.
The new drug, which targets pancreatic cancer but could be just as effective at treating other kinds of tumours, is to be tested on humans by the Cambridge university team later this year.
If the trials are successful, the therapy, which destroys a protective coating around the diseased cells, could be available to patients within a decade.
Research leader Dr Douglas Fearon said: ‘By enabling the body to use its own defences to attack cancer, this approach has the potential to greatly improve treatment of solid tumours.
‘That is not just restricted to pancreatic cancer but would be effective in many forms, including ovarian and lung cancer, because they react similarly.’
Pancreatic cancer, which killed Apple founder Steve Jobs and actor Patrick Swayze, is the fifth most lethal cancer in Britain, killing 7,900 people a year.
Only four per cent of sufferers survive beyond five years after diagnosis.
It is rarely detected early and is often too advanced to be treated, but the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute researchers believe their new drug, known as AMD3100 or Plerixafor, could work even with late diagnoses.
It breaks down a thick wall of chemokine protein which forms a protective barrier around pancreatic cancer cells and prevents the body’s T cells from breaking through to attack the tumour.
Plerixafor is used with other drugs which boost the helpful T cells’ activity.
In tests on mice, virtually all tumours were wiped out within six days – the first time this has been achieved in pancreatic cancer research.
Human trials are expected to start later this year at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge.
Alex Ford, chief executive of the Pancreatic Cancer UK charity, said: ‘This research represents an exciting breakthrough – proving it is possible for cancer-attacking cells to get through to a pancreatic tumour.’
The best hope for beating pancreatic cancer is through research. The University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Program is in an elite group of physicians treating patients with pancreatic cancer. What sets them apart is their multidisciplinary approach to patient treatment. This endeavor is exemplified by the multidisciplinary pancreas cancer clinic during which a treatment plan is developed for an individual patient only after review by a team of physicians from the disciplines of medical oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, radiology and interventional gastroenterology.
It is here that pancreatic cancer patients have access to the most advanced treatments, physicians who provide the highest levels of patient care and an extensive and ongoing clinical trial program.
Biologically unique from other cancers in the opinion of many scientists due to the anatomical location of the pancreas and the pancreatic cancer tumor’s uniqueness, treating this disease requires focused research that to date has been minimal, fragmented and underfunded. Decades of research advancements in lung, breast and other cancers have not translated into clinical benefits for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
WINGS of HOPE for PANCREATIC CANCER RESEARCH is dedicated to raising awareness and funding for the focused, sustained and specific pancreatic cancer research efforts currently ongoing at the University of Colorado Cancer Center’s Pancreatic Cancer Research Program.
It is the research that will advance the treatments and lead us to a cure.
Effective treatments for those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is dependent on more patients and physicians participating in clinical trials.
In 2011, 1,724 pancreatic cancer patients participated in clinical trials throughout the United States. This represents approximately just 4% of pancreatic cancer patients. Though this is slightly more when compared to the national 3% clinical trial participation average for all adult cancers, it is woefully low for the research and advancements needed for major breakthroughs in this relentless disease.
In order to raise the number of patients participating in clinical trials, it is imperative that sound clinical trials are available to test new approaches for pancreatic cancer detection and therapy.
The Pancreatic Cancer Research Program at University of Colorado Hospital is second to none in providing the highest quality multidisciplinary care for pancreatic cancer patients, while at the same time conducting innovative and comprehensive research.
The high quality of patient care is a result of their providing the most advanced medical therapies and opportunities for participation in clinical trials, with the goal being to improve survival and quality of life. The physicians involved in the University of Colorado Pancreatic Cancer Research Program are working to find better therapies, more accurate diagnosis and screening procedures in order to detect pancreatic cancer in its earliest stages.
JOIN THE EFFORT…BE A PART OF THE POSSIBLE, BE THE HOPE.