Even among cancer Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease. The one-year survival of patients is extremely low, and the effectiveness of treatment is much smaller than in the case of other cancers.
In a study published in the journal «Nature Medicine» and conducted under the supervision of scientists from the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, describes a new therapeutic approach in pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that a specific combination of drugs can effectively fight the disease. Initially they demonstrated anti-cancer effects of a drug combination in vitro, and then in humans.
The study has been transferred to the clinical phase of the THREAD, details of which are presented in the National Clinical Trial under number 03825289. For the treatment used two drugs already approved by the FDA for the treatment of other diseases, including cancer. The new drug combination is administered in the form of tablets, orally.
Tumors of the pancreas are characterized by mutations in the KRAS gene. When mutated KRAS, it sends constant signals promoting cell division and abnormal growth of cancer cells. As a result, the tumor out of control. At the same time, like all cells, pancreatic cancer cells need to recycle their components to ensure its growth necessary "building blocks" in the performance of important cellular functions of autophagy. Previous studies on the fight against pancreatic cancer, which has focused on the role of either the KRAS, or on the effects of autophagy, have not been effective.
In the new study, the researchers used an approach, simultaneously targeting both KRAS abnormal transmission of signals, and the process of autophagy. Thus they were able to demonstrate a strong response in mice models.
"We were able to observe that the combination of these two drugs which, when used alone has little effect on the disease, greatly affects the tumor of the pancreas - the scientists noted. - We have seen it in a Petri dish, then in mice, and now in patients with palliative basis of pancreatic cancer. "
This study is supported by another study published in the same issue of the journal. It sets out the additional findings regarding the effects of autophagy in pancreatic cancer.
"In our paper, we describe a patient's response to treatment with pancreatic cancer who underwent surgery and several lines of chemotherapy before starting a new therapy. This patient, who had already died from the disease, however, had a remarkable response to the drug combination in a few months. We must carefully evaluate this new combination therapy in the context of clinical trials ... We also need to define the specific characteristics of each patient, which can benefit from treatment before recommending the use of drugs in the wider population "- the researchers reported.