USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center oncologists are testing the effectiveness of a new drug against pancreatic cancer that targets the cancer from two directions.
In their National Cancer Institute-sponsored phase II clinical trial, researchers are evaluating how well BAY 43-9006 works alone and paired with gemcitabine, todays standard chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer. Heinz-Josef Lenz, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, is principal investigator on the trial, which ultimately aims to add much-needed options to medicines sparse arsenal against pancreatic cancer. Cancer of the pancreas causes about 27,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. "Pancreatic cancer is a major health problem, because we do not yet have highly effective ways to deal with it," says Lenz, director of the gastrointestinal oncology program at USC/Norris. "The cancer is difficult to diagnose early, when it is most treatable, and can be aggressive. Because of the lack of effective systemic therapies, only 1 percent to 4 percent of patients will be alive five years after diagnosis."
But Lenz hopes that targeted medications such as BAY43-9006 will become part of first-line treatment and help patients respond better to chemotherapies.
Sarah Huoh | EurekAlert!
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