A new study conducted at Binghamton University demonstrated that pancreatic cancer cells can be killed with a dual thermal ablation process, which is the combination of freezing and heating, reports Innovation Toronto. The study was funded by National Cancer Institute grants, and conducted by John Baust and Robert Van Buskirk, who are both professors and directors in biological sciences at the Institute of Biomedical Technology at Binghamton University. They also were aided by graduate biology student, Kenneth Baumann.
The study started by asking how to go about treaingt a tumor when both radiation and chemo are ineffective? Van Buskirk wanted to find a treatment strategy that would be less intense and yet more effective, uncertain of whether not this process existed. Current knowledge says that when freezing pancreatic cancer cells, many will die, yet some will make it through and eventually regrow. When you heat pancreatic cancer cells, the same thing occurs. Yet, now these researchers are discovering that with the combination of the two, which is referred to as dual-thermal ablation, more cells will die and will not come back. Over time, any cells that did survive the treatment will most likely die.
After performing many evaluations, the team was able to find out how many cell deaths occurred and how many of the surviving cells could regrow. They also identified their specific pathways. When cells are threatened, they create pathways with intent to protect and save themselves. It’s about figuring out what pathways are activated for cancer cells, so researchers can understand why this combination, dual-thermal ablation, is working.
The team is taking big steps to use their newly found knowledge to not only continue research, but implement what they’ve learned and deliver new hope patients.