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Molecular master switch for pancreatic cancer identified, potential predictor of treatment outcome
By Dross at 2013-02-13 23:38

PHILADELPHIA – A recently described master regulator protein may explain the development of aberrant cell growth in the pancreas spurred by inflammation

A team from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania profiled gene expression of mouse pancreatic ductal and duct-like cells from different states - embryonic development, acute pancreatitis and K-ras mutation-driven carcinogenesis - to find the molecular regulation of these processes.

read more | 3 comments | 2288 reads

Stereotactic radiotherapy slows pancreatic cancer progression for inoperable patients
By Dross at 2010-10-29 21:43

DETROIT – For pancreatic cancer patients unable to undergo surgery – the only known cure for this form of cancer – a highly targeted cancer radiation therapy may help slow cancer progression and lessen disease symptoms, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.

Called stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), the study found it was able to delay pancreatic cancer progression locally, on average, by almost six months.

While, on average, the patients in the study lived about 10 months, one-third lived more than a year.

read more | 1294 reads

Seattle's Swedish Cancer Institute First in U.S. to Treat Cancer Patient with Elekta VMAT
By Dross at 2008-07-31 22:32

A patient with pancreatic cancer recently became the first person in the United States to receive treatment using Elekta VMAT (Volumetric intensity Modulated Arc Therapy) at Seattle's Swedish Cancer Institute. This revolutionary new technology dramatically decreases treatment times -- delivering a higher dose to the tumor target without compromising coverage and patient safety.


From the patient's perspective, faster treatment times often mean improved comfort, which makes it easier to remain still during treatment and increases the likelihood of delivering radiation beams more accurately and safely. From the physician's perspective, the reduction in treatment time makes it much easier to accurately target the tumor and the improved dose sparing offers new options to either increase the cancer-killing dose to a tumor or reduce side effectsterm and therefore potentially improve outcomes.

read more | 948 reads

New treatment combination safe for pancreatic cancer patients
By Dross at 2008-06-02 22:08

CHICAGO, June 2 – Treating pancreatic cancer with a combination of chemotherapyterm, biotherapy and radiotherapy prior to surgery is safe and may be beneficial for patients, according to a University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) study presented at the 44th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago.

In a preliminary study, physicians from the Pancreatic Cancer Center of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Cancer Centers examined the safety of combining gemcitabine with bevacizumabtermterm and radiotherapy in patients with operable pancreatic cancer. In the study, 14 patients with potentially operable tumors completed the treatment regimen. Following treatment, 10 of the patients were considered eligible for surgery. The incidence of serious adverse events following surgery was not increased in these patients, and several demonstrated significant shrinkage of their tumors before surgery.

read more | 1137 reads

Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
By Dross at 2007-08-16 05:30

PHILADELPHIA – Obesity and aversion to exercise have become hallmarks of modern society – and a new study suggests that a blood protein linked to these lifestyle factors may be an indicator for an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Researchers from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute report their findings in the August 15 issue of Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

In a study of 144 patients with pancreatic cancer and 429 people without the disease, a subset of patients with low blood levels of a protein called IGFBP-1 were at approximately twice the risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Low blood levels of this protein have previously been linked to excess weight and lack of physical activity. Their data originated from tens of thousands of men and women enrolled in four large-scale cohort studies – the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, the Nurses’ Health Study, the Physicians’ Health Study and the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study – all of which followed the health of participants over numerous years.

read more | 2 comments | 1181 reads

New minimally invasive sampling technique allows for earlier diagnosis of pancreatic cancer
By Dross at 2007-08-01 22:59

PHILADELPHIA – A new optical technology, coupled with routine endoscopy, may enable doctors to detect the subtle tell-tale traces of early pancreatic cancer, according to researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois. The optical technology, developed by biomedical engineers at Northwestern exposes cellular changes indicative of cancer in tissue near the pancreas that had previously been detectable only through intensive radiologic scanning or invasive surgery, two techniques that can put pancreatic cancer patients at risk.

The results of the pilot study, presented in the August 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, could represent a new approach to detecting pancreatic cancer at a very early stage, when treatment is most likely to succeed.

read more | 1155 reads

Avalon Pharmaceuticals Advances AVN944 into a Phase II Clinical Trial in Solid Tumors
By Dross at 2007-07-16 22:17

Avalon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVRX) , today announced the initiation of a Phase II clinical trial in pancreatic cancer patients. The protocol has been activated and is now open for enrollment as patients are being evaluated to start study treatment. The first active center is Yale University -- Yale Cancer Center. The Company expects to enroll patients at approximately fifteen sites for the trial.

"The advancement of AVN944 into a Phase II trial in solid tumors represents a significant milestone for AVN944 and Avalon Pharmaceuticals," said Kenneth C. Carter, Ph.D., President and CEO. "We believe AVN944 has the potential to provide patient benefit in several cancer types."

read more | 1880 reads

Potential new target for cancer found
By Dross at 2007-07-16 22:07

DURHAM, N.C. – By bypassing a well-known gene implicated in almost one-third of all cancers and instead focusing on the protein activated by the gene, Duke University Medical Center researchers believe they may have found a new target for anti-cancer drugs.

In experiments with human cells and animal models, the researchers studied the gene known as “Ras,” which is integral in normal cell growth. When this gene is mutated and becomes overactive, it can lead to the unregulated proliferation of cells that is the hallmark of tumor formation.

The ras gene, known as an oncogene when it is in this mutated state, has been implicated in several different cancers, including those of the pancreas and lungs. To date, efforts at blocking or turning off ras have proven ineffective. Pancreatic cancer has been shown to have the strongest link to the ras oncogene, and it is also one of the hardest cancers to treat, with few patients alive five years after diagnosis, researchers said.

read more | 1 comment | 1432 reads

Gene therapy eradicates pancreatic cancer in preclinical trial
By Dross at 2007-07-10 18:22

HOUSTON -- A molecularly engineered therapy selectively embeds a gene in pancreatic cancer that shrinks or eradicates tumors, inhibits metastasistermterm, and prolongs survival with virtually no toxicity, researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in the July 9 edition of Cancer Cell.

"This vehicle, or vector, is so targeted and robust in its cancer-specific expression that it can be used for therapy and perhaps for imaging," notes senior author Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., professor and chair of M. D. Anderson's Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology.

read more | 1420 reads

Researchers pit novel version of common virus against cancer
By Dross at 2007-06-21 21:05

With nearly $1 million in government funding, University of Rochester scientists are testing a new innovation in biotherapy by altering a common childhood respiratory virus, the adenovirus, to destroy cancer cells.

Exploring the potential of biotherapy through oncolytic adenoviruses is a hot area in cancer research. The approach is analogous to the police employing a snitch to reach the bad guys: For years scientists have been engineering relatively benign viruses to selectively infiltrate and deliver genetic materials into more dangerous cells.

However, the current generation of mutant viruses under study has limitations. So far, they are proving to be effective only in tumor cells that express certain proteins. The Rochester group designed an entirely new version of the adenovirus that might have broader, more powerful potential. The first experiments will be on pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest malignancies.

read more | 1369 reads

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.

read more | 2683 reads

Pancreatic Cancer Markers Identified, May Predict Survival
By Dross at 2007-05-03 02:07


COLUMBUS, Ohio – Scientists have discovered a way to distinguish pancreatic cancer from non-cancerous tissue, new research shows.

The method may also distinguish patients who will survive longer than two years.

The research examined pancreatic cancer cells for tiny molecules called microRNA (miRNA). It shows that relative levels of certain miRNAs can distinguish pancreatic cancer from nearby noncancerous tissue and from inflamed pancreatic tissue.

read more | 2 comments | 1836 reads

Johns Hopkins develops pancreas cancer risk model
By Dross at 2007-04-17 23:23

People with a family history of pancreas cancer now have a way to accurately predict their chance of carrying a gene for hereditary pancreas cancer and their lifetime risk of developing the disease. Developed by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers, the novel computer software tool is designed to help genetic counselors and physicians decide who would most benefit from early screening.

An estimated 10 percent of aggressive and highly fatal cases of the disease are caused by inherited genes. “Even if there is a 100 percent chance that an individual carries a pancreas cancer gene, their risk for developing the disease is only 20 to 25 percent over their lifetime,” says Alison Klein, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of the National Familial Pancreas Tumor Registry at Johns Hopkins. “So, while it’s a rare disease, the need for screening in these persons is important.”

read more | 1503 reads

Popular herbal supplement hinders the growth of pancreatic cancer cells
By Dross at 2007-04-17 23:21

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute suggests that a commonly used herbal supplement, triphala, has cancer-fighting properties that prevent or slow the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors implanted in mice. The study found that an extract of triphala, the dried and powdered fruits of three plants, caused pancreatic cancer cells to die through a process called apoptosis – the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted or unneeded cells. This process often is faulty in cancer cells. Results of the study, abstract number LB-142, are being presented in a late-breaking session at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 14-18, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Triphala, one of the most popular herbal preparations in the world, is used for the treatment of intestinal-related disorders. It is typically taken with water and thought to promote appetite and digestion and to increase the number of red blood cells.

read more | 2280 reads

Data Available from ERBITUX(R) Phase III Study in First-Line Treatment of Advanced Pancreatic Cancer
By Dross at 2007-04-13 08:40

ImClone Systems Incorporated (NASDAQ:IMCL) and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today announced that a Phase III study of ERBITUXterm(R) (Cetuximabtermterm) plus gemcitabine (a chemotherapyterm) in patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastaticterm pancreatic cancer did not meet its primary endpoint of improving overall survival.

Conducted by the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG), a cancer center network sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the open-label, randomized study compared ERBITUX plus gemcitabine to gemcitabine alone in more than 700 patients with pancreatic cancer in the first-line treatment setting. The study was conducted in centers throughout the United States and Canada. It was completed in a significantly shorter time than projected, providing a timely answer to an important research question. SWOG has informed ImClone and Bristol-Myers Squibb that the primary study endpoint of statistically improving overall survival was not met. The three parties -- SWOG, ImClone, and Bristol-Myers Squibb -- will engage in joint efforts to fully interpret these results.

read more | 2189 reads

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