Researchers at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, find a way to prevent the recurrence of deadliest pancreatic cancer by reducing cancer stem cells.
Recent study results supports the concept that cancer stem cells are the seeds of the most clinically deadly form of therapy-resistant human cancers. This is the secret reason why the reason why conventional chemotherapy, while reducing tumor size, does not result in long-term cures.
Lead researcher Dr.Rajesh Kumar and colleagues analyzed the cancer stem cells in ten patient-derived tumors implanted in laboratory mice and found that 5 (DR-5) , is enriched in cancer stem cells compared to non-stem cell tumor populations.
Researchers found that treatment with gemcitabine alone reduced tumor size, but the tumor cells that remained were rich in pancreatic cancer stem cells. In nearly all cases, the tumors returned.
Finally, treatment with gemcitabine and tigatuzumab resulted in the reduction of pancreatic cancer stem cells, caused tumor remission, and significantly increased time-to-tumor progression in 50 percent of treated cases from a median of 54 days to 103 days.
According to Dr. Kumar, combination therapy using tigatuzumab, a novel humanized death receptor-5 (DR-5) agonist antibody, along with gemcitabine, may result in reducing pancreatic cancer stem cells to achieve tumor remission and prevent tumor recurrence.
Researchers claimed that, this new discovery could transform the way in which pancreatic cancer is treated and would help to manage this deadly disease which was previously very difficult to manage.
The result of this study will be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 100th Annual Meeting 2009.