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article imageNew treatment extends life for pancreatic cancer patients

By Nancy Houser     Jan 24, 2013 in Science
Gemcitabine and Abraxane, a variation of the old drug Taxol, are part of a 900-patient study in Arizona to treat pancreatic cancer. Currently, they are extending life by 1.8 months on the average patient diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.
NPR stated that "The latest study employed Abraxane, an albumin-coated variation of the old drug known as Taxol. The idea is that the pancreas tumor cells 'see' the albumin protein as food and ingest it, concentrating the chemotherapy where it's needed.”
In 2005, Abraxane was approved by the FDA as an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, as published in the Forbes online magazine.
The drug originally was used to treat metastatic breast cancer and then lung cancer. Currently, the drug is being used in a side-by-side comparison to standard chemotherapy treatments. Results from the study show that the two-drug combination has slowed tumor growth and is increasing life for patients suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer.
Since 1990, late-stage pancreatic cancer has involved 34 trials of various drugs; this one is the fourth with Daniel Von Hoff as the lead investigator. He is also the chief scientific officer for the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials at the Scottsdale Healthcare in Arizona and the Physician-in-Chief of The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGEN) in Phoenix.
A silent killer with a poor prognosis, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network announced that by 2015, pancreatic cancer will move from the fourth leading cause of cancer death to the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
It may help that on January 3, 2013, President Obama signed into law the Recalcitrant Cancer Research Act, referred to as H.R. 4310. It has received wide bi-partisan support since its first introduction on September 24, 2008.
Now part of the $633 billion fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, previously known as the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, the law will change the future for pancreatic cancer. It will be required to "implement a research plan that will lay the groundwork for the development of early detection methods and effective treatment options, which are currently lacking," said the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.
More about Pancreatic cancer, pancreatic cancer patients, Drug, Study, Research
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