Rosie Strutt discusses late dad’s pancreatic cancer

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Conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and published in the Cancer Discovery journal, the team of researchers looked into treatments targeting the cancer causing KRAS gene mutation.

In preclinical models, these new treatments shrunk tumours or stopped cancer growth.

They wrote: “Here, we tested the efficacy of a small molecule KRASG12D inhibitor, MRTX1133, in implantable and autochthonous PDAC models with an intact immune system.

“In vitro studies validated the specificity and potency of MRTX1133. In vivo, MRTX1133 prompted deep tumour regressions in all models tested, including complete or near-complete remissions after 14d.”

MRTX1133 is a small molecule used to target pancreatic cancer tumours.

Discussing the study, co-senior author Professor Ben Stranger said: “The results of this study are in stark contrast to anything we’ve seen before in pancreatic cancer.

“Even in preclinical research models for this cancer type, most drugs tested within the last decade – including novel immunotherapies – have had limited impact.”

One of the reasons pancreatic cancer has such a high fatality record is because it is very difficult to treat.

On the new potential breakthrough, co-study author Professor Robert Vonderheide wrote: “After many years of work to find much-needed new approaches for patients with pancreatic cancer, it’s exciting to have a new class of drugs on the horizon.”

Professor Vonderheide added: “We’re optimistic that KRAS G12D inhibitors will make their way into clinical trials soon. KRAS is surrendering, and now we know the immune system can see it.”

The hope is the results of this study will open up the door to further studies and the development of a potential treatment for pancreatic cancer.

The main symptoms of pancreatic cancer

Health provider the NHS say the main symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:
• The whites of the eyes or skin turning yellow
• Itchy skin
• Darker pee
• Paler poo
• Loss of appetite or losing weight without trying to
• Feeling tired
• Having no energy
• High temperature.

However, other signs of the condition can impact other areas of the body such as how it digests food.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer which can affect the digestion are:
• Feeling or being sick
• Diarrhoea or constipation
• Pain at the top part of the tummy or back
• Symptoms of indigestion.

The NHS caution: “If you have another condition like irritable bowel syndrome, you may get symptoms like these regularly.

“You might find you get used to them. But it’s important to be checked by a GP if your symptoms change, get worse or do not feel normal for you.”

Furthermore, the health service also has other guidance on the symptoms of pancreatic cancer.

They say the following is important when diagnosing the condition: “Many of these symptoms are very common and can be caused by many different conditions. Having them does not definitely mean you have pancreatic cancer.

“But it’s important to get them checked by a GP. This is because if they’re caused by cancer, finding it early makes it more treatable.”

When at the GP appointment, the doctor in question may feel your tummy or ask you to give a urine sample or a blood test.

Should they feel something needs investigating further, they may send you to see a specialist for further tests.

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