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Treatment hope for cancer patients

Published on 21 February 2012 01:00 PM

Scientists are working on more effective treatments for pancreatic cancer after initial research showed that combining two drugs can destroy cells which act in conjunction with tumours.

The Cancer Research UK-funded trial involving mice found that combining gemcitabine - a chemotherapy medication - and experimental drug MRK003 multiplied the effect of each, ultimately killing cells.

The team behind the research did, however, stress that it will be some time before they're able to say how successful this approach will be in patients.

Researchers from the Cambridge Research Institute said the ability of gemcitabine - widely used by pancreatic cancer patients - to destroy tumours was increased when MRK003 was added.

A clinical trial into the findings is now under way.

Study author Professor David Tuveson said: 'We've discovered why these two drugs together set off a domino effect of molecular activity to switch off cell survival processes and destroy pancreatic cancer cells.'

The findings were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Duncan Jodrell, professor of cancer therapeutics at the University of Cambridge, is leading the clinical trial.

He said: 'We're delighted that the results of this important research are now being evaluated in a clinical trial, to test whether this might be a new treatment approach for patients with pancreatic cancer, although it will be some time before we're able to say how successful this will be in patients.'

Copyright Press Association 2012

Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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