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Pancreatic drug hope

21st February 2012

Research funded by Cancer Research UK has shown that a new trial drug known as MRK003 may be able to be used in treatment for pancreatic cancer.

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Scientists at the University of Cambridge said studies in mice found injecting them with MRK003 in combination with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine sparks off a "chain of events" which killed cancer cells.

Every year around 8,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and only 16% of them live for longer than 12 months.

Research into this type of cancer is being carried out by Cancer Research UK as the survival rate is so low.

After the research using the experimental drug was successful in mice, a trial is now being carried out using human patients who have the disease.

The researchers said 60 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer will participate in the first Phase I/II clinical trials.

Professor Duncan Jodrell, who is the head of the research trial at the University of Cambridge, said: "We're delighted that the results of this important research are now being evaluated in a clinical trial, to test whether this might be a new treatment approach for patients with pancreatic cancer, although it will be some time before we're able to say how successful this will be in patients." 

 

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