New Way of Treatment Offers Hope for Pancreatic Cancer Patients
13:06 12.11.2023 (Updated: 14:13 12.11.2023)
Pancreatic cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose and is often not detected until it is too late to treat it. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, only 12% of patients survive one year and 9% survive five years with the disease .
Preclinical studies conducted by the VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center and the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine in Virginia in the US have demonstrated that polyinosine–polycytidylic acid (pIC), when directly administered to cancer cells, effectively inhibits tumor development and triggers malignant cell death.
This research was recently published in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer.
Mice with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma tumors, which closely mimic human pancreatic cancer, exhibited significantly improved survival rates after the implementation of a coordinated therapeutic plan. This promising approach, which harnesses the immune system, offers hope for human pancreatic cancer patients.
The research show that pIC, a substance that boosts the immune system, increases the chances of survival in lab animals with pancreatic cancer. It's safe for normal pancreatic cells and might improve survival for people with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a type of pancreatic cancer, either when used alone or in combination with conventional treatments such as gemcitabine.
PDAC is known for being very hard to treat. It has a low survival rate, with only 12% of patients living for a year and just 9% surviving for five years. The research team established that a coordinated therapeutic plan significantly improved survival rates in mice with PDAC tumors, which closely resemble human pancreatic cancer. By using polyethyleneimine (PEI) to deliver pIC into the intracellular environment of tumor cells, the researchers have successfully stimulated cancer cell death.
The research found that pretreating mice with pIC before cancer development reduced tumor growth by approximately 60 percent, suggesting a potential protective, vaccine-like effect. Further research is needed to explore its implications for cancer prevention.
The study's promising results for treating pancreatic cancer suggest that this approach could potentially be used for various cancer types in conjunction with standard care.