Experimental Combination Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer Enters Phase II Trial

According to a story from Financial Buzz, the drug developer Rafael Pharmaceuticals, Inc., recently announced that a Phase II clinical trial that will test the company’s experimental drug CPI-613 in combination with a modified FOLFIRINOX regimen has recently been initiated. This open label trial will test this combination treatment on patients with pancreatic cancer whose disease does not qualify for surgical intervention.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. The disease affects the pancreas, which is a glandular organ that is situated behind the stomach. Part of the reason that pancreatic cancer is so dangerous is that it rarely produces noticeable symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage and begun to spread. However, even when detected earlier, it is difficult to treat effectively. Risk factors for pancreatic cancer include being male, old age, African-American ancestry, family history, smoking, obesity, diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, and a diet heavy in red meat, processed meat, or meat cooked at very high temperatures. Symptoms include depression, upper abdominal pain, jaundice, diabetes, constipation, weight loss, and appetite loss. Treatment approaches for this cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Even with heavy treatment, pancreatic cancer almost always returns. The five year survival rate is just five percent. To learn more about pancreatic cancer, click here.

Encouraging Results So Far

The ultimate goal of the trial is to monitor the impact of CPI-613 and FOLFIRINOX on overall survival of patients with pancreatic cancer as well as ascertain more data about the safety of this therapeutic approach. Earlier trials have suggested that this treatment could offer meaningful improvements in overall survival and progression free survival. In the earlier trial, median progression free survival was 9.9 months and median overall survival was 19.9 months. These numbers are considerably better than many current standards of care. They may not seem impressive overall, but in a disease as deadly as pancreatic cancer, sometimes improvement in treatment is measured in a few extra months of survival.

Rafael Pharmaceuticals is committed to the development of therapies that target cancer based on distinctive metabolic differences between regular cells and cancer cells. CPI-613 has earned Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of several forms of cancer, including myelodysplastic syndromes, pancreatic cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, and peripheral T-cell lymphoma.


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