AACR: Emerging Pancreatic Cancer Treatments Evaluated

Cancer conference shows improved outcomes with drug combination and nanotechnology

THURSDAY, Nov. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Advances that could lead to new treatments for pancreatic cancer were discussed at a press briefing Nov. 17 at the American Association for Cancer Research -- National Cancer Institute -- European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer International Conference, "Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics," held from Nov. 15 to 19 in Boston.

According to one study, the use of nab-paclitaxel in addition to gemcitabine may lead to improved outcomes by weakening the stroma surrounding the pancreatic tumor. In humans, the combination was associated with longer median survival compared to gemcitabine alone, and in mice the combination was associated with an improved response rate as compared to either agent alone.

In other research, restoring the microRNA miR-34 in p53-mutant human pancreatic and gastric cancer cells inhibited cell growth and sensitized them to chemotherapy and radiation. In yet another study, delivering Avastin via a nanotechnology-based device in mice was associated with a better response compared to using Avastin alone. Currently, the drug can inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor, which is how it works outside of cells but not within them.

"This finding represents a new paradigm for Avastin-based treatment that could be delivered with greater effectiveness and with less toxicity," Tayyaba Hasan, Ph.D., of the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

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