Scientists have found that early trial results of the combination of an experimental drug are promising against pancreatic cancer. So, the scientists believe that it may become a new weapon to fight against pancreatic cancer.
The studies in mice show that giving an experimental drug called MRK003 with the chemotherapy agent gemcitabine causes a chain of events to occur that finally kills the cancer cells. This has brought positivity amongst the scientists working on developing remedy for pancreatic cancer patients. Now, the patients are testing the treatment to see if it works on them too.
The trials are being carried out at Cambridge with the support of the funds from the Cancer Research UK. A 41-year old, Richard Griffiths (from Coventry) has been on the trial since the day he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May, 2011. “After six cycles of treatment, a scan showed the tumours had reduced and so I have continued with the treatment,” said Mr. Griffiths.”The trial gives you hope – I really feel I can do this with the science behind me.”
The Cancer Research UK is funding the research into pancreatic cancer as the organization believes that the survival rate of pancreatic cancer patients is very low. According to the statistics, around 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK. The pancreatic cancer is considered to be the fifth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
A period of 6 months or less is the length of survival time between diagnosis and the death of the patients suffering from the pancreatic cancer. Most recent statistics for England show that only 16% of patients survive the disease for more than 12 months after diagnosis, compelling the researchers to develop new treatments.
The trial leader at the University of Cambridge, Professor Duncan Jodrell said, “We’re delighted that the results of this important research are now being evaluated in a clinical trial, to test whether this might be a new treatment approach for patients with pancreatic cancer, although it will be some time before we’re able to say how successful this will be in patients.”
Looking at the positive results, about 60 patients with advance pancreatic cancer will be recruited at the Cambridge for the clinical trial.