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Funding Should Be Increased For Pancreatic Cancer Research

838 words - 4 pages

The last 50 years have seen tremendous leaps in medicine and the treatment of diseases, as advances in technology and additional research have expanded our knowledge. However, pancreatic cancer remains one of the most lethal human cancers and continues to be a major unsolved health problem and challenge in 21st century. Thus, funding for pancreatic cancer should be increased dramatically as a critical requirement for progress will be the development of effective systemic treatments capable of reversing the aggressive biology of this disease.
Although it is “only” the ninth most common cancer it is ranks as the fourth deadliest, with the lowest survival rate of any cancer, ranging between ...view middle of the document...

Among patients with metastatic disease, the 5-year survival rate is only 2%, and 1-year survival rates of 17 to 23% have been reported with gemcitabine (Von Hoff D. D. et al. 2013). Such trials have shown that some drug therapies and combination chemotherapy regimens can control the cancer and can improve survival, even for patients with advanced stages of disease.
However, added challenges arise when using such treatments due to the biological complexity of pancreatic tumors, which enables them to adapt and grow despite intense therapy. Furthermore, it seems that not every pancreatic cancer is the same and each may be sensitive to different drugs or combinations of drugs. This complicates the treatment of pancreatic cancer even further and slows down the process of finding an effective treatment which reduces the mortality rates.
Erlotinib is the only targeted therapy currently approved for pancreatic cancer, in combination with gemcitabine. Other drugs that may help block tumor growth and spread are being studied for pancreatic cancer, both as single drugs and as part of combination therapy. A gene called Ras is often mutated in pancreatic cancer, and drugs that target this gene are being studied, either alone or in combination with other types of targeted therapy or chemotherapy.
Only recently have researchers been able to map the pancreatic cancer genome and are now using this to create therapies that target not one but many genetic abnormalities in pancreatic cancer cells. This strategy should shrink or eliminate pancreatic tumors more effectively thereby enable more patients to be treated...

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