With one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers, pancreatic cancer developments are generally big news. Such is the case for a recent study that shows a new, experimental drug may provide a glimmer of hope to patients when it is combined with use of a long-standing cancer-fighting agent.

While still very much in the study phases, researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine paired the existing everoliums drug with an experimental compound. Using mouse cell lines to test the effectiveness of the combination, researchers found the pairing reduced the viability of cancer cells by about 50 percent versus the use of everolimus on its own. Essentially, the experimental compound seems to boost the effectiveness of everolimus.
Human clinical trials are already under way for the new compound. How soon those results might be available reminds unclear. The hope, however, is that the combination will stand up to further scrutiny and provide a way for doctors to more effectively battle neuroendocrine tumors.

Pancreatic cancer strikes an estimated 50,000 Americans each year. The disease is responsible for almost 40,000 deaths annually. With a five-year survival rate of less than 10 percent, pancreatic cancer is considered one of the deadliest forms of the disease. It is believe this form of cancer will soon run a second to lung cancer in the number of annual deaths associated with it.

As it stands, pancreatic cancer is a difficult form of the disease to detect and treat. Presenting at first with very few symptoms, the condition often isn’t diagnosed until patients are in more advanced, incurable stages. In addition to striving for better treatments, researchers are also working on earlier detection methods, such as simple blood tests that may one day give those facing this condition a chance to catch it in the earlier, more treatable stages.