A newly-developed drug can prevent the most common type of pancreatic cancer from growing and spreading in laboratory mice, according to a study led by Cedars-Sinai.

The study, published recently in the journal, Gastroenterology, also demonstrated in mice that the drug, called Metavert, may prevent patients from developing a resistance to currently-used pancreatic cancer chemotherapies.

‘This is an exciting step towards improving survival rates in pancreatic cancer patients,’ said study lead author, Mouad Edderkaoui, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai.

‘If the results are confirmed in humans, we could have a drug with the potential to significantly extend the lives of patients with pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, which is very difficult to treat.’

Over a four-year period, the investigators designed and synthesised new chemicals that inhibit cancer cell activity. They discovered that Metavert blocked drug resistance and also significantly boosted the positive effects of radiation and two chemotherapy agents commonly used in humans. In one of the mouse studies, Metavert increased the survival rate by about 50 per cent.

The investigators are currently developing a version of the drug to test in humans, Pandol said.

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