Boosting Pancreatic Cancer Chemotherapy

Pancreatic cancer chemotherapy gemcitabine kinase inhibitor

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) In the latest re-evaluation of pancreatic cancer chemotherapy, recent research concluded that using the standard drugs alongside some less well known supplements as a booster improved treatment results.

Due to the slight differences in all of the cells involved in a given cancer, figuring out how to attack them can be a tricky proposition.

A standard chemotherapy such as Gemzar (gemcitabine) can get 95 percent of cancer cells, but for most people, five percent is still five percent more tumor than they would like.

"Ask your oncologist about clinical trials are available."

In the American Association for Cancer Research's 2012 meeting, researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center announced that the addition of a class of drugs known as kinase inhibitors, improved the effects of Gemzar on the toughest cancer cells.

"Although gemcitabine can successfully kill many pancreatic cancer cells, using it as a single agent hasn't really been effective because there are still a small percentage of cells that develop some kind of resistance to the drug," said the presenter, Neil Beeharry, Ph.D.

Using a database created last year by Fox Chase, the entire known collection of kinase inhibitors, nearly 200 drugs in total, was analyzed for best potential for combination therapy. In a series of experiments, cells taken from samples of pancreatic cancer were dosed and monitored for effect.

The ideal kinase inhibitor had to leave healthy cells alone while remaining lethal to cancerous cells. Researchers concluded that candidates for further rounds of testing specifically included two anti-cancer agents - spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) inhibitors as well as the Src family of kinase inhibitors.

In the future with further experimental trials, these scientists hope their research allows doctors to also administer lower doses of chemotherapy in total, contributing to fewer side effects in patients.

Gemzar (gemcitabine) a chemotherapeutic drug, initially obtained FDA Approval in 2000 and has been examined for use in pancreatic cancer since 2007. Gemcitabine has been cited in particular for causing less side effects when compared to other forms of chemotherapy. Quotes for six months of chemotherapy for Gemzar ranged around $4,000.

Research results announced in presentation abstracts is considered preliminary until published in a peer reviewed journals. 

No financial information, including potential financial conflict of interest or funding details, was disclosed by the researchers.

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Review Date: 
April 12, 2012
Last Updated:
April 15, 2012