Trials Are Gearing Up For a New Pancreatic Cancer Treatment

According to a story from financialbuzz.com, the pharmaceutical company MabVax Therapeutics just announced initial dosing for patients and the completion of enrollment for its Phase I trial study. The study is assessing MVT-5873, a treatment designed for use in combination with standard chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer.
The pancreas is a glandular organ located behind the stomach. Cancer of the pancreas can easily spread to other organs and body areas. Pancreatic cancer rarely has symptoms at first; by the time noticeable symptoms appear, the disease has often spread. Symptoms of the cancer include back or abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes), and unexplainable weight loss caused by a loss of appetite. Due to the fact that the cancer os often only discovered at an advanced stage, most people do not survive for long after a diagnosis; only five percent of people live for five years following its detection. Risk factors include, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. To learn more about this type of cancer, click here.
MVT-5873 is a therapeutic antibody that boosts the body’s immune response in order to attack tumors and prevent further cancer growth and spread. The goal of the current study is to assess the maximum tolerated dose and to test the treatment in combination with chemotherapy regimens that are already available. The dosing level to be tested is 0.125 mg/kg. Currently there are no immunotherapy type treatments available for pancreatic cancer. The treatment functions by targeting an epitope on CA19-9 which is expressed in around 90 percent of pancreatic cancer cases and is indicative of an aggressive cancer type. CA19-9 has an important correlation with both the spread of the cancer to other organs and in adhesion of the tumor.
MVT-5873 is just one of several new approaches that are being investigated as possible treatments for pancreatic cancer. These include targeted therapies that attack the cancer stem cells, which are usually very resistant. Others  aim to affect the cancer’s molecular mechanisms and the microenvironment of the tumor. These treatments will represent a new generation of treatment options for patients with this deadly form of cancer. New options are desperately needed.

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