Clinical trial offers hope for pancreatic cancer patient

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Could pancreatic cancer evolve into a chronic disease versus one with a bleak prognosis?

Maybe so, based on results of pancreatic cancer clinical trials at the HonorHealth Research Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona. The trials are offering hope to turn this into a chronic disease, something akin to diabetes — manageable and tolerable.

A Phase 2 drug clinical trial at the institute offers pancreatic cancer patients a combination of three effective chemotherapy drugs: Gemcitabine, Nabpacleitaxeo and Cisplatin, plus vitamin D and an immunotherapy drug called Nivolumab.

"The three chemo drugs have been shown to be very active together," said Erkut Borazanci, MD, pancreatic cancer program director and medical oncologist at the institute. "We've had a 71 percent response rate."

Adding an activated vitamin D and Nivolumab, an immunotherapy drug proven effective in lung and skin cancer treatment, activates the immune system to attack the cancer. "Out of 10 patients in this clinical trial, which we refer to as ‘the grand slam,' eight had tumor shrinkage," Dr. Borazanci said.

Juan, 42, a Stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient from Mexico, has had excellent results from this Phase 2 clinical trial. A recent PET scan of the father of three revealed shrinking tumors and no active cancer after nine months in the clinical trial. In July 2018, nearly one year after his diagnosis, Juan started a maintenance therapy, one that Dr. Borazanci hopes will allow Juan to live for a long time with tolerable side effects.

Short of a cure, it's a welcome treatment unheard of just 10 years ago. Meet Juan and his wife, Geovanna, in the video above.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer, clinical trials and the pancreatic cancer early detection program at the HonorHealth Research Institute.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer, clinical trials and the pancreatic cancer early detection program at the HonorHealth Research Institute.