as Pancreatic Cancer
2015- Scientists have found a way to use a
modified herpes simplex virus, produced by a French
biotechnology company, to fight against pancreatic cancer.
This is a very deadly form of malignant tumor; this news brings hope to pancreatic cancer patients waiting for
an effective therapy to save their life.
decades of cancer research that cost billions of dollars, pancreatic cancer still remains a highly fetal disease
due to the fact it is extremely difficult to be detected and treated early. In 2013, about 45,220 individuals
were diagnosed with the cancer in the United States, causing the death of nearly 38,460 people. According to the
American Cancer Society (ACS), pancreatic cancer is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related death in the
United States. People all over the world are being victims of the
disease; and scientists are working hard to find a solution.
The first trial to use the modified
virus as an alternative pancreatic cancer was performed
in Toulouse. A team of French
Institute of Health and Medical Research (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche
médicale) has developed a treatment by injecting a herpes simplex virus
derived able to infect and destroy
cancer cells, without, however, harming healthy cells in the
body. This really a new way to attack and kill pancreatic cancer cells
in some way, with less adverse effects.
laboratory, the ‘therapeutic virus’ behaves as
expected: pancreatic healthy cells
are unaffected, but it has increased in cancer cells as well as
neighboring cells in order to kill them. The second stage, a test conducted this time
in human tumors grafted into
mice, was equally encouraging. "An injection, made directly into the tumor,
of the modified virus associated with
chemotherapy, has drastically reduced the size of tumors without harmful
side effects in the mice.”
While this is really promising, it is important to know that this therapeutic approach is
still a trial conducted in laboratory. It would
take a few years before this therapy can be considered as a pancreatic cancer treatment
and available to health care professionals and patients. But it happens in type of
tumor where there is few treatment options available to really
combat the disease.
Many medical experts are
highly optimist about this discovery. For instance, Prof. Professor Michel Ducreux, Head of the Gastrointestinal Unit at the Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif,
France and Professor of Oncology at University of Paris, stated: "This test is extremely attractive,
scientific prowess, I applaud!"
The final step, before considering this approach as conventional pancreatic cancer treatment,
will be to conduct larger trials on humans to confirm the efficacy and safety
(absence of fetal side effects) in pancreatic cancer patients.
“The process will take five to ten years," said Professor Ducreux. But regardless, this
discovery is a great hope, given the ineffectiveness of chemotherapy to fight pancreatic cancer.
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