Thursday, September 25, 2014

Engineered vitamin D may be key to effective pancreatic cancer treatment

Click for Salk Institute video
CANCER DIGEST – Sept. 25, 2014 – A modified form of vitamin D appears to make pancreatic cancer cells more vulnerable to chemotherapy, say researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Ca., which could open the door to this hard-to-treat cancer.

The researcher led by Dr. Ron Evans, director of Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory, developed a synthetic form of vitamin D that deactivates inflamed cells surrounding the cancer cells that form a kind of “shield” that keeps immune cells and chemotherapy from reaching the tumor. 

Studies have shown that people deficient in vitamin D are more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. While vitamin D has been tried many times before in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, it has never led to improvements in treatment. Evans’ team found that the inflamed cells surrounding tumors quickly broke down normal vitamin D, preventing it from binding to the tumor. The team found a modified form that is able to remain intact.

In a mouse study published today in the journal Cell, they found that combining the modified vitamin D with existing chemotherapeutics increase lifespan by 50 percent compared to chemotherapy alone. Evans group has now teamed up with clinicians at the University of Pennsylvania to launch a clinical trial to test the effectiveness of the vitamin D-like drug in cancer patients before pancreatic surgery.

No comments:

Post a Comment