DALLAS March 23, 2010 Human pancreatic cancer cells dramatically regress when treated with chemotherapy in combination with a synthetic compound that mimics the action of a naturally occurring "death-promoting" protein found in cells, researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found.
The research, conducted in mice, appears in today's issue of Cancer Research and could lead to more effective therapies for pancreatic and possibly other cancers, the researchers said.
"This compound enhanced the efficacy of chemotherapy and improved survival in multiple animal models of pancreatic cancer," said Dr. Rolf Brekken, associate professor of surgery and pharmacology and the study's senior author. "We now have multiple lines of evidence in animals showing that this combination is having a potent effect on pancreatic cancer, which is a devastating disease."
In this study, Dr. Brekken and his team transplanted human pancreatic tumors into mice, then allowed the tumors to grow to a significant size. They then administered a synthetic compound called JP1201 in combination with gemcitabine, a chemotherapeutic drug that is considered the standard of care for patients with pancreatic cancer. They found that the drug combination caused regression of the tumors.
"There was a 50 percent regression in tumor size during a two-week treatment of the mice," Dr. Brekken said. "We also looked at survival groups of the animals, which is often depressing in human therapeutic studies for pancreatic cancer because virtually nothing works. We found not only significant decrease in tumor size, but meaningful prolongation of life with the drug combination."
The drug combination was also effective in an aggressive model of spontaneous pancreatic cancer in mice.
The compound JP1201 was created in 2004 by UT Southwestern researchers to mimic the action of a protein called Smac. The researchers discovered Smac in 2000 and found t
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UT Southwestern Medical Center