Navigation Links
Studies See Advances in Detecting, Treating Pancreatic Cancer
Date:5/22/2012

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- Two preliminary studies suggest that some headway is being made in both the detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer.

On the treatment front, researchers from two Cleveland institutions said they have fashioned a vaccine that, in early trials, appears to kick-start the patient's immune system into attacking cancer cells.

The team -- from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland -- stressed that the vaccine (called Algenpantucel-L) is not designed to prevent disease from occurring in the first place.

Initial testing, however, indicates that when used in conjunction with a standard six months of chemotherapy (with or without radiation) and surgical interventions, the vaccine may prolong short-term, disease-free survival, and perhaps even overall survival.

Lynn Matrisian, vice president of scientific and medical affairs at the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, said the vaccine work shows promise.

"We are eager for the outcome of the phase III trial of the Algenpantucel-L vaccine," she said. "The phase II results are very encouraging, and the ongoing larger-scale, randomized phase III trial will determine the effectiveness of this novel treatment strategy."

On the detection front, a separate team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., said it has come up with a novel and minimally invasive method to screen for signs of pancreatic cancer at a much earlier stage than is currently possible.

Instead of standard image scanning or biopsies, the experimental method, called "polarization gating spectroscopy," uses a small fiber-optic endoscopic probe configured with a light to explore regions near to, but much more accessible than, the pancreas itself.

The goal: to spot telltale signs of regional blood vessel and blood oxygen changes that scientists view as indicators of adjacent pancreatic cancer.

Both studies are scheduled for presentation at the international Digestive Disease Week meeting this week in San Diego.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, more than 37,000 men and women will die of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

Treatment obstacles are significant, given that tumor growth often festers under the radar, leaving most patients with a late-stage diagnosis when treatment options are of limited value.

Collectively, the study authors paint a grim bottom line. At best, only 5 percent of cases are curable. Without surgery, survival is about four to six months, while only 0.4 percent to 5 percent of patients make it to the five-year mark. Even with surgery, 70 percent of patients ultimately relapse and die.

And although encouraging, both of the new studies share an important caveat: Each involved just a small group of patients.

"Our work so far involved just 70 patients," said Dr. Jeffrey Hardacre, lead author of the vaccine study.

"Although now we already have under way a larger trial involving 700 patients at 50 cancer centers," added Hardacre, a surgical oncologist at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and an associate professor at Case Western. "And the results of that trial, which will probably be available in a couple of years, will provide a definitive yes or no as to whether this therapy will improve survival."

"But already," he continued, "we have seen that if you compare the patients from our study to patients treated in the past with the same type of standard therapies but without the vaccine, our patients had notable improvement in terms of survival."

Hardacre said standard treatment typically affords disease-free survival of roughly 11 months. By comparison, add in the Algenpantucel-L vaccine to surgery and chemo prolonged survival among his patients to the 14-plus month mark.

"That's a large difference in percentage terms, although our work so far looked only at disease-free survival, not overall survival," he said. "Overall is the most important parameter, so that is what we are looking at now."

Dr. Michael Wallace, the lead author of the detection study, said his team's findings are a cause for guarded optimism: a 100 percent success rate in spotting pancreatic cancer using the light-screening method.

The approach does, however, yield a significant number of false-positive results. What's more, the findings stem from an analysis of very early data concerning just 21 patients in a 30-patient pilot study.

"So now we plan to launch a 600-person trial across the U.S. and Europe in late summer to validate our findings regarding a novel diagnostic concept: to shine a light on the small intestine, as opposed to the tumor itself, and to see how that light bounces back and reveals changes in the surrounding blood supply that tumors need to grow," said Wallace, Mayo's chairman of the division of gastroenterology.

"The beauty here is that this is minimally invasive, and will hopefully help us to shift to early detection," he said. "Because, as things are today, the vast majority of patients are diagnosed way too late and simply cannot be cured."

For her part, Matrisian said only time will tell how effective the new detection method might be.

"The intestinal probe is an interesting concept and further work will determine whether this will be useful in the early detection of pancreatic cancer," she said.

Because the studies were presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

For more on pancreatic cancer, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Lynn Matrisian, PhD, vice-president, scientific and medical affairs, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Manhattan Beach, Calif; Jeffrey Hardacre, M.D., surgical oncologist, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, and associate professor, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland; Michael Wallace, M.D., gastroenterologist and chairman, division of gastroenterology, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla.; May 22, 2012, presentation, Digestive Disease Week (May 19-22, 2012), San Diego


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. University studies and career expectations of medical students
2. ASCO releases studies from upcoming annual meeting
3. IADR/AADR publish studies on severe early childhood caries - proposes new classification
4. Joint-Replacement Failure Rate Higher for Smokers: Studies
5. First targeted nanomedicine to enter human clinical studies
6. U.S. Advisers Say Its Now Safe to Publish Bird Flu Studies
7. For Better Mouse Studies, Let Them Nest
8. Two Studies Find Routine Mammography Saves Lives
9. Sanford-Burnham research advances to patient studies at TRI
10. Studies show exposure to diesel exhaust may increase lung cancer mortality
11. Studies Offer More Evidence That Colonoscopy Saves Lives
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Studies See Advances in Detecting, Treating Pancreatic Cancer
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... The Visiting Nurse ... Market. Featuring a collection of specialty vendors and unique items from across the nation, ... quality-focused health and wellness services offered by the VNA. The boutique will be ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... NJ (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Global ... at scenic Alexandria Park in Milford, NJ. This free event, sponsored by Global ... physical activity. The fun run is geared towards children of all ages; it ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob ... sciatica in a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational ... and investigates each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a ... “The Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published ... all ages and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Del. (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... and advisory services for healthcare compliance program management, will showcase a range of ... National Association for Assisted Living (NCAL) Convention and Expo to be held October ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, ... formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics ... new brand, which included the unveiling of new signage ... , as well as at a few other company-owned ... new brand to patients, some of whom will begin ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ... earnings conference call and webcast on Friday, November 3, ... (EDT) and ending at approximately 8:30 a.m. (CDT) / ... the company,s 2017 financial performance and guidance for 2018, ... initiatives to enhance operational performance, and long-range financial outlook ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... and NEW YORK , Sept. 27, 2017 ... mobile health and big data solutions, today announced that its MyDario product ... check your local TV listings for when The Dr. Oz Show airs ... The ... this month. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: