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Testing a dual combination therapy for pancreatic cancer

  • Researcher: Professor Kairbaan Hodivala-Dilke
  • Institution: Barts Cancer Institute, London, England
  • Award Amount: £249,167 for 3 years from 1st February 2016
  • Cancer Type: Pancreatic Cancer
Testing a dual combination therapy for pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease. Less than 1% of people diagnosed survive for more than ten years, which is the same as it was back in the 1970s. Professor Hodivala-Dilke explains “Where surgery is not a possibility, chemotherapy is given, but often, toxic side effects mean that treatment has to be stopped. Pancreatic cancer has several specific features that make it particularly difficult to treat. These include the fact that they have a poor blood supply, which means that the much of the chemotherapy that we treat the tumour with never even reaches it. In addition, pancreatic cancers can have complex genetic mutations that can alter therapy responses.

To overcome this, with the help of a previous Worldwide Cancer Research grant, we have developed a dual action treatment strategy. It can improve the delivery of Gemcitabine (a chemotherapy often given to patients) to pancreatic cancer with mutations in a subset of genes. It also helps the Gemcitabine work more effectively in the cancer cells so that we can reduce its dose and therefore reduce side effects, whilst still improving survival. With this latest grant we are aiming to extend these studies to pancreatic cancer with other genetic mutations and investigate whether this strategy can improve the effect of other commonly used chemotherapies.

Our data will provide new information that will help us to treat pancreatic cancer better, hopefully in the not too distant future.”
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