Posted on Dec 26, 2019, 5 p.m.
Those suffering with pancreatic cancer are faced with one of the more daunting forms of the disease, unfortunately very few of these patients will survive 5 years beyond diagnosis, with few symptoms most are not diagnosed until it has reached the metastatic stage.
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths, and it is the 12th most common form of cancer around the globe. Tel Aviv University scientists believe they have developed a treatment that could destroy pancreatic cancer cells. Treatment involves PJ34 molecules that were originally developed to help stroke victims, which was discovered to cause human cancer cells to destroy themselves during cell division after being injected.
As published in the journal Oncotarget, the study was conducted using transplanted human pancreatic cancer in immunocompromised mice; two weeks of daily injections with the small molecule resulted in a 90% reduction in cancer cells being observed 30 days after ending treatment with one animal experiencing all tumours completely disappear.
According to the researchers PJ34 triggers an anomaly while the cancer cells are dividing that promotes rapid cell death; meaning the cell multiplication is what causes the bad cells to die. As an added plus PJ34 does not affect healthy cells unlike traditional treatments, and the researchers did not observe any negative effects in the mice from treatment, the animals were observed to grow and gain weight as usual.
In 2017 Professor Malks Cohen-Armon, the study lead, explored this mechanism in treating triple negative breast cancer. Parallel studies were also found using PJ34 efficiently in other cancers including aggressive varieties of ovarian, lung, brain, and breast cancer that resist current therapies.
The university released a statement saying this work has “great potential for the development of a new effective therapy to treat this aggressive cancer in humans.” The team hopes to move their studies to larger animals before the main goal of carrying out human trials, which they believe could take two years, depending on funding.
Dual Thermal Ablation was discovered in 2018 to be another potential therapy for pancreatic cancer, the process entails heating and freezing. When using the processes individually some cells don’t die while other can regrow, but with dual thermal ablation more cells die off and do not return according to the researchers from Bringhamton and State Universities.
“What we've observed is that we are able to achieve complete cell death using a combination of heating and then freezing at temperatures that alone would not be lethal to kill pancreatic cancer cells," said Kenneth Baumann. “Using a variety of assays, we are able to determine the initial level of cell death as well as to what extent the surviving population is able to regrow. We were also able to determine the specific paths of cell death activated as a result of the dual thermal exposure."
Both of these processes show great potential and may become valuable treatments for cancer, it is exciting to see when researchers think outside of the box to develop approaches that do not put overall health at risk and yield very promising results.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.