• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Drug trial's renewed hope for pancreatic cancer

A FAILED pancreatic cancer treatment could be resurrected as a personalised medicine aimed at one in five patients with the disease, research suggests.

Previous trials showed that the drug rapamycin was ineffective as a general therapy for pancreatic cancer.

But new evidence suggests it might work against a particular type of tumour caused by a fault in the PTEN gene, which influences cell growth.

When rapamycin was given to mice with PTEN-defective pancreatic tumours it stopped cancer cells from spreading. In some cases, the drug also caused tumours to shrink.

An analysis of human pancreatic tumour samples found that around one in five had the defective gene, suggesting that rapamycin might help a substantial number of patients.

Lead researcher Dr Jennifer Morton, from the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute at the University of Glasgow, said: "This is incredibly important research showing for the first time that there's potential to tailor treatment to pancreatic cancer patients based on differences in their tumour's genetic fingerprint.

"Although it's at a very early stage, it's the first time we've been able to pinpoint a genetic fault in pancreatic cancers and match it up with a specific drug.

"It's a crucial step forward in developing new treatments for this devastating disease."

The new research is published in the journal Gut.

Dr Kat Arney, science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "This is a promising step towards being able to personalise treatments to them."

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

252217