Enzyme may bust pancreatic cancer barrier

In an early study in mice, scientists have seen remarkable progress at getting past the defenses of stubborn pancreatic cancer.  The breakthrough is worth noting because Stage IV pancreatic cancer has had such a poor prognosis for such a long time.

SCCA’s own Sunil Hingorani, MD, was one of a team that reported these findings in March in the journal Cancer Cell.  Dr. Hingorani conducts research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and is on the faculty of the University of Washington School of Medicine.

The strategy, which uses an enzyme known as PEGH20,  is already being tested in people, as part of a clinical trial that is open to new patients. The enzyme allowed chemotherapy drugs to break through a barrier put up by the pancreatic cancer cells.

In a summary at the blog ScienceNOW, other researchers warned that results in mice don’t always translate into results in people. Part of Dr. Hingorani’s motivation to find answers is that the disease struck his own father, as he explains in this video from KOMO-TV news.

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