Dr. Aaron Sasson, chief of gastrointestinal surgical oncology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, pointed out that some previous pancreatic treatments have worked well in mice but failed in humans. But the researchers behind the new study may have discovered a "trick" to a more effective treatment, he said.
Nonetheless, it would be quite some time before the treatment could reach doctors' offices, he said. Cost could be an issue, too: Some chemotherapy drugs, he said, cost thousands of dollars a month.
In the big picture, the treatment might extend life span by just a few months, he said. But the strategy could help make tumors more vulnerable to other types of chemotherapy drugs.
"It's possible that other chemotherapy drugs that failed before could become effective," he said.
The American Cancer Society has more on pancreatic cancer.
SOURCES: David Tuveson, M.D., researcher, Cambridge Research Institute, Cambridge, England; Aaron Sasson, M.D., associate professor, surgery, and chief, gastrointestinal surgical oncology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha; Allyson J. Ocean, M.D., assistant professor, medicine, Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City; May 21, 2009, Science
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