New pancreatic cancer treatment breakthrough

British researchers are excited by ‘very strong results’ in a trial of a new treatment pancreatic cancer.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have recently reported on “very strong results” in a trial of drug AMD3100 (or plerixafor) on pancreatic cancer in mice, with plans to trial the treatment on humans later this year.

The drug, developed by AnorMED, is currently used to stimulate stem cells ahead of transplants in cancer patients, but these new findings suggest that the drug could prove beneficial in treating pancreatic cancer too.

The researchers, lead by Dr Fearon, used the drug in conjunction with an antibody and found that the two worked together to break down the protein cells and attack tumours. As pancreatic cancer currently has low survival rates and is difficult to treat, the findings are prompting excitement amoung researchers and those in the industry.  

Ana Nicholls, healthcare analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, commended the work of the researchers and suggested that the “real breakthrough” was in “the analysis of how the protein barrier on the cancer cells operates; information that may prove very useful in tackling other solid tumours.”

AMD3100 is currently marketed as Mozobilm and was approved by the US FDA in 2008.