Pancreatic cancer is the most feared, as its prognosis is usually poor, especially if detected in advanced stages. In addition, currently available treatments have limited effects and are not effective in all patients.
The pancreas, as we told you in another article, is an organ located in your abdomen, behind the stomach, and is about 6 inches 15 centimeters long. Its main functions are to produce gastric juices that help digest food and to produce hormones such as insulin that help your body regulate blood sugar.
Pancreatic cancer appears when the cells of this organ undergo certain changes (mutations) and become “malignant”, which causes them to form a tumor in the tissues to grow and multiply in a chaotic manner. It is a cancer that progresses rapidly and is difficult to detect in its early stages, which is why it is the fourth most common cancer in the United States.
Pancreatic cancer is formed in two types of cells in the pancreas;
The exocrine type is more common and is usually found at an advanced stage. Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors) are less common but have a more favorable prognosis.
According to American Cancer Society estimates, by 2023 approximately 64,050 people (33,130 men and 30,920 women) will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States alone. Also, about 50,500 people (26,620 men and 23,930 women) will die from this type of cancer.
A group of scientists has developed a new treatment that shows promising results in the fight against pancreatic cancer, specifically pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This type of cancer is usually fatal in 88% of patients, but it has now been discovered that it has certain mutations that could be used to develop new therapeutic drugs.
A phase 1 clinical trial tested a personalized messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine against this most common type of pancreatic cancer with a particularly poor prognosis. The treatment, which is based on the type of tumor formed, was given to 16 people with surgery, chemotherapy and other types of immunity. Half of them showed an immune response to the vaccine, which was linked to better prognosis. The results, which were very encouraging, were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.
Hey Dr. Ignacio MeleroProfessor of Immunology at the University of Navarra, CIMA researcher and co-director of the Department of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Navarra Clinic, in statements to the Media Center of Science, in Spain, confirms “mRNA vaccines combined with immunomodulation. clear candidates to manage treatments in oncology, especially around surgery used with curative care”.
But he himself Manel Juan Drthe head of the Immunology service at the Clínic de Barcelona hospital adds “the study is very well designed and its scientific quality is unquestionable. It shows something that has been suggested many times before (with less robust data), namely that personal vaccination with tumor antigen mRNA is effective in inducing a response and a minimum survival time “This work confirms that it is possible to generate responses with clearly reduced adverse effects against one of the tumors with the highest mortality, pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.”
Although it is an option that is still in the research phase and a proven treatment is not yet available, this program may represent a future hope for the improvement of these patients, since currently therapeutic options are limited.
By Karla Pieck Islands
© 2023 Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc (HITN). All rights reserved.
Image: © Shutterstock / mi_viri