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Ed Yeates ReportingHuman clinical trials could be only months away for a new experimental compound that attacks pancreatic cancer. The drug appears easy to administer and might be even more potent when used alongside current drug therapies.
In Salt Lake Bobbye Sloan is just beginning her battle with pancreatic cancer. In Park City Howard Cadwit has survived now more than ten months. His father who lives out of state has really beaten the odds by surviving more than three years.
Pancreatic cancer, more than most, is extremely aggressive and immune to treatment. That's why researchers are watching with great interest experiments on mice with a compound Myriad Genetics calls MPC-6827. In animal models it's dramatically shrinking pancreatic tumors.
Dr. Adrian Hobden, Myriad Pharmaceuticals Inc.: "We saw about a forty percent reduction. Whereas the standard care is about 20 percent. Now we don't know how that will translate into patients, but what we know is that the dose of drug we gave was about twenty times lower than the drug that was given - gemcitabine."
Gemcitabine is one of the newer drugs currently being used to treat pancreatic cancer. Myriad researchers hope by combining MPC-6827 with Gemcitabine the tumor kill ratio will jump significantly. How much?
Dr. Adrian Hobden: "Well the hope would be that we would be able to eliminate the disease. Whether that turns out to be true or not, I don't know, but if we can significantly slow the growth of the tumors and maybe get a much bigger remission rate - then I think that is a very good thing."
Again, the tests on mice are very promising. So much so that human clinical trials could begin as early as this fall.
MPC-6827 also appears to work well in attacking melanomas, breast and prostate cancers.
Among all cancer related deaths, pancreatic cancer is now the fourth largest killer.