Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

New Treatment for Pancreatic Cancer?

Researchers at Rambam Medical Center are investigating treatment directed against nerve invasion

By: Viva Sarah Press

Published: March 25th, 2014 in Health » Israel

Cutting-edge research by scientists at the Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, is pointing towards development of new treatment for pancreatic cancer, one of the most deadly and difficult cancers to manage successfully.

Whereas other cancers that have seen a reduction in incidence thanks to therapeutic advances and early detection, rates of pancreatic cancer have been slowly going up over the past 10 years.

Moreover, there is a poor prognosis because of nerve invasion, a form of direct spread of cancer which occurs in more than 80 percent of patients with pancreatic cancer. Because the cancer is distributed along nerves it cannot be treated at a specific site and patients receive only palliative care to alleviate painful symptoms.

The research team, led by Dr. Ziv Gil, Head of the Applied Cancer Research Laboratory at Rambam, is investigating the mechanism that triggers nerve invasion in pancreatic cancer and identifying specific targets for drugs that can effectively reduce it.

“Treatment directed against nerve invasion could prevent cancer spread, prolong survival, and reduce morbidity,” says Gil. Gil and his team suggest the existence of a link between tumor-infiltrating macrophages (large white blood cells that reside in tissue and bone marrow) and pancreatic cancer cells, which contributes to nerve invasion. Tumor-associated macrophages secrete proteins that in turn trigger secretion of a strong growth factor that stimulates the increase and spread of cancer cells.

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Via ISRAEL21c

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