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Immunotherapy Could Boost Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

Immunotherapy Could Boost Survival in Pancreatic Cancer

(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Tuesday, 13 September 2016 01:38 PM

An experimental treatment has shown dramatic results in treating advanced pancreatic cancer, a new study finds.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest of cancers. The problem with the disease is that most of the time it is diagnosed only after it has metastasized, or spread. Of these patients, only about 18 percent are alive one year after diagnosis and just four percent at five years, researchers say.

Currently, chemotherapy is the only option for patients with advanced cancer because the tumors cannot be surgically removed. The type of standard chemotherapy used is highly toxic, with side effects that many patients cannot tolerate.

An international research team led by St. George’s University of London conducted a trial in which 110 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer were selected from 20 institutions in five countries.

The patients were randomized into two groups. One received gemcitabine chemotherapy through a drip, as well as a course of IMM-101 injections. The other group received gemcitabine chemotherapy alone.

Some patients given both treatments lived significantly longer – even years more than expected, while the overall median survival increased 59 percent (2.6 months).  On average, the median survival for this type of patients is six to 11 months, the researchers note.

This study was the second phase of the clinical study and the researchers now plan to pursue a third-phase trial, after which they hope the drug can be licensed.

"These are exciting results and support our hope that immunotherapy will in future become a generally accepted treatment for a wide range of cancers, improving both survival rates and quality of life,” says Harry Cotterell, of the foundation that funded the study, which appears in the British Journal of Cancer.


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Pancreatic cancer has a dismal survival rate, but a new immunologic drug offers hope.
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Tuesday, 13 September 2016 01:38 PM
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