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Stem cell research aids understanding of cancer
By Dross at 2012-07-20 20:25

The study, published in the journal Stem Cell, adds to our understanding of the role of stem and next stage progenitor cells in tissue regeneration and in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. While stem cells are known to reside in organs such as the liver and pancreas, they are difficult to isolate. The new findings show that an antibody developed by the team can be used to capture the stem cells.

read more | 5 comments | 3717 reads

Low levels of key protein may indicate pancreatic cancer risk
By Dross at 2007-08-16 05:27

BOSTON--A protein that dwindles in response to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle may one day help doctors predict which people are at increased risk for pancreatic cancer, new research by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and collaborating scientists indicates.

In a report in the Aug. 15 issue of Cancer Research, the investigators found that, in a large study group, people with the lowest blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were twice as likely to develop pancreatic cancer as those with higher levels. Though much work remains to determine if the protein -- whose acronym stands for insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 -- is a reliable indicator of pancreatic cancer risk, the finding adds to the scientific understanding of how the disease develops.

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Many Patients With Operable Pancreatic Cancer are Not Offered Surgical Treatment
By Dross at 2007-06-15 21:19

Analysis of data from the largest cancer database in the country has shown that a significant proportion of patients with operable pancreatic cancer are not being offered surgical treatment, even though an operation is the only potential cure for this type of cancer. Researchers from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) released their comments today on this groundbreaking study that found that 38.2 percent of patients with early-stage pancreatic cancer were not offered a surgical procedure as a treatment.

"As surgeons, the message we have been sending for many years is that surgical treatment for early-stage pancreatic cancer can have a positive impact on survival and quality of life. This study suggests, however, that the percentage of patients who should have an operation but don't get it, is alarmingly high," according to Mark S. Talamonti, MD, FACStermterm, chief of the division of surgical oncology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, and co-researcher of the study.

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Liverpool to trial new pancreatic cancer therapy
By Dross at 2007-03-15 21:32

Patients in Liverpool are to trial a new therapy for pancreatic cancer – a disease which sees most sufferers die within a year of diagnosis.

One of the 10 most common cancers in the UK, it is among the most difficult to diagnose and treat and kills around 7,000 people each year. There are very few early symptoms so most patients present late and only around 15% are suitable for surgery.

The Phase III TeloVac trial has been designed by the Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Sub-Group of the UK National Cancer Research Institute and will be run by Cancer Research UK’s Liverpool Cancer Trials Unit.

read more | 1992 reads

Genetic pathways to curable and incurable forms of pancreatic cancer identified
By Dross at 2007-03-13 22:20

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomaterm is an almost uniformly fatal disease regardless of the stage at time of diagnosis. However, a small percentage of patients develop a form of ductal adenocarcinoma associated with cystic lesions that can be detected earlier, is less aggressive and has a 50 percent long-term survival rate. Why cystic ductal pancreatic cancer behaves differently, despite carrying the same basic genetic mutations as the more common and deadly type of ductal pancreatic cancer, has long been a mystery. Now researchers at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have unlocked the genetic reason why.

Using unique mouse models to mimic the progression of both forms of human pancreatic cancer, researchers have discovered that a specific sequence of otherwise common genetic mutations is responsible for sending cells down the less-traveled path toward cystic pancreatic cancer versus the well-traveled route to the more fatal form of ductal pancreatic cancer.

read more | 2220 reads

Pancreatic Basics
By Dross at 2007-02-19 09:15

Definition of pancreatic cancer: A disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the tissues of the pancreas. Also called exocrine cancer.

Estimated new cases and deaths from pancreatic cancer in the United States in 2007:

New cases: 37,170
Deaths: 33,370


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Scientists identify pancreatic cancer stem cells
By Dross at 2007-02-01 22:30


Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical Center have, for the first time, identified human pancreatic cancer stem cells. Their work indicates that these cells are likely responsible for the aggressive tumor growth, progression, and metastasistermterm that define this deadly cancer. In the February 1 issue of Cancer Research, the researchers demonstrate that only 100 of these stem cells are needed to produce human pancreatic cancer in half of mice tested.


They also found these cells are at least 100 times more tumorigenic than cancer cells that did not have one of three protein markers they believe to be associated with pancreatic cancer stem cells. The findings could help advance development of new therapies for this cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of only three percent -- the worst prognosis of any major cancer, said the study's lead author, Diane M. Simeone, M.D., an associate professor of surgery and molecular and integrative physiology. "The cells we isolated are quite different from 99 percent of the millions of other cells in a human pancreatic tumor, and we think that, based on some preliminary research, standard treatments like chemotherapyterm and radiation may not be touching these cells," said Simeone. "If that is why pancreatic cancer is so hard to treat, a new approach might be to design a drug that specifically targets pancreatic cancer stem cells without interfering with normal stem cell function." While such a drug has not been developed, ongoing research suggests it is possible to do so, she added. The study also advances the emerging notion that stem cells may lie at the heart of some, if not all, cancers, Simeone said. That theory suggests that only cells that have the properties of "stemness" -- that is, cells that can self-renew and differentiate into other types of cells -- are the only ones capable of producing tumors. These "cancer stem cells," could derive from normal adult stem cells in organs that have mutated, or from a differentiated cell that has devolved to take on the qualities of stem cells. They are resistant to traditional therapy designed for cells that rapidly turn over because stem cells don't, according to some researchers. Thus, they remain after tumors shrink and may be responsible for cancer recurrence and metastasis. This study confirms at least one of those concepts, the researchers said. "Our study demonstrates that the very small subset of cells in a human pancreatic tumor that cause the cancer to grow and propagate have stem cell-like features," Simeone said.

read more | 1 comment | 1973 reads

Surgery and adjuvant therapy may work for pancreatic cancer
By Dross at 2007-01-24 02:31


In the largest single-institution retrospective study to date, researchers at Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have shown that giving patients both radiation and chemotherapyterm after completely removing invasive pancreatic cancer may improve overall survival rates. The study's lead author, a radiation oncology resident in Rochester, Michele Corsini, M.D., presented the findings Saturday, Jan. 20, at the 2007 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The American Cancer Society reports that while the incidence of pancreatic cancer has decreased over the last few years, it remains the fourth most common cause of cancer-related death. Pancreatic cancer, which has a very poor prognosis, killed more than 32,000 people in the United States last year. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve the prognosis of patients with cancers such as this," says Robert Miller, M.D., co-primary investigator and a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic. "Our findings show that surgery should be complemented by both radiation and chemotherapy for best results." In the study, the team of surgeons, oncologists and radiation oncologists from Mayo's Arizona and Minnesota campuses examined the records of 472 consecutively-treated patients. The patients all had surgery with negative margins (some healthy tissue cut out around the cancerous cells), between 1975 and 2005, to remove pancreatic adenocarcinomaterm. They excluded patients who had metastaticterm cancer, tumors that could not be removed or were not removed entirely (positive surgical margins), or indolent (slow growing) tumor types. Ultimately 454 patients were included in the final comparison of patients who received adjuvant therapyterm with those who had not. More than half (274) received concurrent radiation and chemotherapy following surgery and 50 percent survived two years, with 28 percent surviving at least five years. The researchers report more than one-third (180) received no additional therapy after surgery, and the comparative survival rates were significantly less, at 39 percent and 17 percent in two and five years, respectively. Additional chemotherapy after concurrent radiation and chemotherapy seemed to have an even greater effect on survival (61 percent and 34 percent survived two and five years), but only 28 patients received that combination, not enough for the researchers to draw a firm conclusion about its effectiveness. Drs. Miller and Corsini and their fellow researchers think these findings are important to clinicians worldwide. "While long-term outcomes with pancreatic cancer are generally poor," Dr. Corsini says, "our findings show that including both chemotherapy and radiation following surgery may significantly improve patient survival rates." Mayo currently uses a treatment strategy for most patients that includes a combination of radiation and chemotherapy after surgery.

read more | 11 comments | 4165 reads

Thomas Jefferson University Hospital - Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Five-Year Survivors 65 and Up Live Nearly as Long As Anyone
By Dross at 2007-01-12 01:42

[via Thomas Jefferson University Hospital - Pancreatic Cancer Surgery Five-Year Survivors 65 and Up Live Nearly as Long As Anyone]:

A new study shows that pancreatic cancer patients 65 or older who live at least five years after surgery have nearly as good a chance as anyone else to live another five years. Researchers at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia reviewed the records of 890 patients with pancreatic cancer who underwent the standard pancreaticoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, which entails the removal of the gallbladder, common bile duct, part of the duodenum, and the head of the pancreas, between 1970 and 1999 at Johns Hopkins University. They identified those who lived for five years, and compared those who lived for at least an additional five years to the actuarial estimated survival of the general population beginning at age 70. Reporting in the journal Surgery, they found that 201 patients (23 percent) lived five years after surgery, at least half of whom were 65 years old or older at the time of surgery. Of those five-year survivors, an estimated 65 percent lived at least an additional five years.

read more | 1 comment | 2651 reads

Top-Line Phase 2 Clinical Trial Results of Glufosfamide for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer
By Dross at 2006-12-30 04:25


Threshold Pharmaceuticals Announces Top-Line Phase 2 Clinical Trial Results of Glufosfamide for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer


REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 27 -- Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:THLD) , today announced top-line results from the Phase 2 clinical trial of glufosfamide in combination with gemcitabine for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. 21% of patients in the clinical trial had a partial response (including one unconfirmed partial response) and 36% of patients had stable disease. Glufosfamide was generally well tolerated in combination with gemcitabine with no new unexpected adverse events. "We are pleased with these encouraging top-line results and look forward next year to additional six- and twelve-month survival data from this clinical trial," said Barry Selick, Ph.D., Threshold's chief executive officer. "We remain focused on our goal of bringing another treatment option to patients with pancreatic cancer." Phase 2 Clinical Trial Results In the Phase 2 clinical trial, 29 patients were treated, of which 28 patients with pancreatic adenocarcinomaterm previously untreated with chemotherapyterm were evaluated for response. Overall, 5 patients achieved a confirmed partial response and one other patient achieved an unconfirmed partial response. In addition, 10 patients experienced stable disease. Objective response was assessed radiologically after every two cycles of therapy. A partial response is characterized as a decrease in size by 30% of the sum of the longest diameters of target lesions, the absence of progression of all non-target lesions and no new lesions. Preliminary analysis of the safety data in this Phase 2 glufosfamide and gemcitabine combination trial suggests the incidence of treatment-related nephrotoxicity may be slightly higher than what was observed in previous experience with either of these agents used individually. This clinical trial remains ongoing. Final survival and safety results will be reported at the completion of the trial, estimated to occur by the end of the third quarter of 2007.

read more | 1538 reads

Finding culprit in pancreatic cancer -
By admin at 2006-12-14 01:54

[via Finding culprit in pancreatic cancer -]:Scientists have discovered a gene that is strongly implicated in hereditary pancreatic cancer and say it ultimately may serve as a target for screening and early diagnosis of a malignancy that long has been diagnosed in a late and untreatable stage.  

1863 reads

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