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Mayo Clinic researchers formulate treatment combination lethal to pancreatic cancer cells
Date:4/20/2009

DENVER - A combination of two targeted therapies packs a powerful punch to kill pancreatic cancer cells in the laboratory, Mayo Clinic cancer researchers report. With further testing of these drugs that are from classes of pharmaceuticals already used in patients, the Mayo research may lead to new treatment opportunities for patients with pancreatic cancer, which is extremely difficult to treat.

In a study being presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center investigators found that rapamycin and panobinostat (also known as LBH589) act synergistically when used in combination, destroying up to 65 percent of cultured pancreatic tumor cells.

The finding is particularly significant, says the study's first author, Mamta Gupta, Ph.D., because the three cell lines studied were all resistant to the effects of chemotherapy - as are many pancreatic tumors - and because the drugs studied are already available for treatment of patients. Panobinostat is approved as therapy for cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL), and rapamycin is best known as an immunosuppressant to help prevent rejection of transplanted organs.

"We need new therapies and strategies for the treatment of pancreatic cancer because these tumors are resistant to almost all known treatments," says Dr. Gupta, a research associate in the Division of Hematology. "No targeted treatment has shown much value to date."

Dr. Gupta studied the combination of agents in pancreatic cancer cells because her previous research at Mayo Clinic had shown that this combination worked well in laboratory tests of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. A phase one clinical trial to test this combination in patients with lymphoma will open soon at Mayo Clinic under the direction of Thomas Witzig, M.D.

"While our pancreatic cancer cell line results look very promising, these are laboratory, not clinical, studies," she says. "We are preparing to t
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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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