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Researchers Find New Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer

20 JAN 2014

This week, the AAPS blog looks at new discoveries in the treatment of pancreatic cancer – widely recognized as one of the most deadly forms of the disease. By the time patients are diagnosed, cancerous cells have already spread throughout the body and treatment options are limited and often, ineffective. The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 6 to 9 months. The blog post, Researchers Find New Treatments for Pancreatic Cancer explains that

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly silent killers. It is an aggressive disease with poor prognosis and limited treatment options, and is highly resistant to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Most patients develop symptoms after the cancer has spread to other organs, and the chance of survival drastically reduced.  According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 4,700 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year – and 4,300 will die from it. More effective treatment methods are desperately needed to increase shockingly low survival rates.

The blog post describes two new potential treatments for sufferers of the deadly cancer, and although neither offers complete solutions, they represent an important step forward in combatting the illness. The Universities of Manchester and Michigan have recently presented research that helps the medical community understand both how cancer cells thrive in the pancreas and how best to achieve their destruction. Manchester researchers now understand how to block the fuel supply cancerous cells need to grow and multiply, while the Michigan team have determined the best way to effectively target the cells with a combination of radiation and the drug, gemcitabine. Although still in the early stages of development, both discoveries offer hope to thousands of patients and their families.