Cancer Research UK Launches Pancreatic Cancer Trial
Cancer Research UK has begun a first-of-its-kind clinical trial to exploring the possibility of making pancreatic cancer cells more responsive to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
The trial will treat pancreatic cancer patients where their tumours have grown too big for surgery but have not yet spread to other parts of the body, with olaparib (marketed for ovarian cancer by AstraZeneca as Lynparza) alongside standard treatment with chemoradiation.
The first stage of the trial aims to seek the safest dose of the PARP-1 inhibitor, while the second part will assess whether the combination can shrink tumours to a size suitable for surgical removal.
“This is the first time we’re looking at ways to make pancreatic cancer cells more sensitive to radiotherapy,” said Professor Jeff Evans, chief investigator at the University of Glasgow. “One way to make pancreatic cancer a more treatable disease is to shrink the tumour enough to make surgery a possibility and we hope to see that happen in this trial.”
“Around 9,400 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year in the UK and it remains a very difficult disease to spot at an early stage, making it much harder to treat,” noted Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician. “Despite this we are making steady progress through research and trials like this one.”
Cancer Research UK has recently stated it has tripled investment in pancreatic cancer research – streaming £18 million into the field in the 2015/16 compared to £6 million the prior year – as it strives to tackle rising rates and poor survival.