Columbia University recently received a 3-year grant to sponsor a single-phase clinical experiment of a precise medicinal approach to help in treating metastasized pancreatic cancer. The current treatments that are prominently used attack the mutated DNA which is assumed to drive the tumor growth in patients. This is mostly effective in patients who suffer from the commonest types of pancreatic cancer, and for those with less seen cancer types, it is not that effective.

  • Reduced effectiveness of older treatment can be seen: In the case of pancreatic duct carcinomas, only fifteen percent of patients get benefits from conventional methods of treatment, and the others will either not show a response or show a relapse, due to the cancer showing drug resistance.
  • New method studies the RNA instead of the DNA of the cancer cell: Due to older approaches towards treating the disease proving ineffectual, research scientists plan to conduct studies of the tissue specific copies of DNA of cancer cells, called the RNA, instead of analyzing the DNA. This should provide a better image, with better accuracy of the various genetic factors inside a tumor which promote it continuously surviving. The patients, depending on this analysis, can be given personalized treatment.
  • More effective treatment by matching drugs with patient’s case: Going by the results of preliminary tests of the above method, the research scientists have managed to match one or more drugs to patients in eighty five percent of cases. This treatment is useful in identifying the different drugs which can reverse the actions of some hidden cancer targets. One of these is known as a master regulating protein which is responsible for giving cancer cells immunity from typical cancer treatments.

The grant is also being utilized for the funding of a preclinical study of patients of pancreatic ductal carcinoma, and developing an individualized drug treatment plan for them.