herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

How drugs cocktail can fight cancer of pancreas

PANCREATIC cancer cells can be destroyed by combining two drugs, researchers have found.

The news gives hope that more effective treatments can be developed to combat the disease.

The research by Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute showed in mice that combining a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine with an experimental drug called MRK003 sets off a chain of events that ultimately kills cancer cells - multiplying the effect of each drug on its own.

MRK003 blocks an important cell signalling pathway called Notch in both pancreatic cancer cells and the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels supplying tumours with essential nutrients.

Experts found the addition of MRK003 to gemcitabine increased the ability of gemcitabine to destroy tumours. The discovery is now being subjected to clinical trials.

Father-of-two Richard Griffiths (41), from England, has been on the trial since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last May

"After six cycles of treatment, a scan showed the tumours had reduced and so I have continued with the treatment. It gives you hope."

hnews@herald.ie

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