Implantable Device Delivers Chemotherapy Directly to Pancreatic Tumor
Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are testing an implantable device for its ability to deliver chemotherapy drugs directly to pancreatic tumors, sparing damage to healthy cells. They recently published their study of an iontophoretic device implant used in mice with pancreatic tumors.
The implanted device delivered a highly toxic mix of four chemotherapy drugs directly to the pancreatic tumor cells. In the mouse trials, the chemotherapy drugs halted tumor growth and in some cases caused shrinkage of the tumors. Replication of these results, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help more pancreatic cancer patients qualify for surgical removal of their tumors. Only about 15 percent of people with pancreatic cancer have operable tumors.
The four-drug combination used in the iontophoretic device therapy is an effective but dangerous method of treating pancreatic cancer when administered with the standard IV method. Because these drugs enter the bloodstream, they often cause significant damage to the rest of the body. Using the implant, doctors were able to direct the drugs straight into the tumor using an electric field and spare the healthy cells nearby.
Researchers are hopeful that the results will be the same when the device goes into clinical trials within the next few years. By halting or shrinking pancreatic tumors, doctors can potentially halt the progression of the cancer or buy more time for a patient to become a candidate for tumor removal surgery.
Pancreatic Cancer Causes Seven Percent of Cancer Deaths Nationwide
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