• New weapon comming for those with Pancreatic Cancer!!!

    Asked by Peroll on Thursday, January 24, 2013

    New weapon comming for those with Pancreatic Cancer!!!

    No question I just wanted to share a link to this article about a new chemo regimine for Pancreatic Cancer. It shows us all that progress is being made every day!!!


    5 Answers from the Community

    5 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      Hi Peroll, was that article about my Peeps at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville? There was a news spot on our local news tonight about something they are working on concerning Pancreatic Cancer. I missed it.

      I cant get in to see the link without signing up on Medscape

      over 4 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      Thank you for sharing. I started reading the earlier studies several months ago to try to determine what was coming, because they announced there would be information in January. Yesterday, I went and reviewed what was sent to me by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, which has a mailing list, and they're helpful with finding information if people want to email them, at no cost. pancan.org http://pancan.org/section_research/strategic_research_program/news/topic_abraxane_improves_survival.php

      It's about what I expected, and you can get sneaky finding some information by looking at the finance and investment pages in addition to the health pages when they tell you big news is coming soon. This clinical trial study involved the combination of Gemzar (gemcitabine) that has been used since the late 90's for first line therapy in pancreatic adenocarcinoma-- with a drug from recent clinical trials, Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) for advanced pancreatic cancer.

      Having researched the available treatments and clinical trials for at least stage 4 pancreatic cancer, it doesn't look too exciting to me because in my mind, I think about what dad has been through, and all the hopes with each of these drug combinations at which we've looked. Gemzar, or gemcitabine by itself doesn't work for everyone, and for the people in which it does produce results, it may stop working after a short time, which is what happened with my dad. He was on a Gemzar monotherapy. The time he spent on that was not pleasant. If we take a look at the data, at where he was headed without chemo, vs. where he ended up with chemo, it looks like there would be a difference of maybe three centimeters in the tumor-- about 1.2 inches. So, a little bit of benefit. But I'm not sure how much in relation to how he felt. Of course there's no way to know if it prevented further metastases, and each case is different.

      I'm not a doctor, so I can't say what might be good for someone in another situation. But I don't think much of this news, with the perspective that quality has become more important than adding several weeks onto the end.

      It does show that research is done, and hopefully every little bit more that's known about it is a baby step forward. Progress is incredibly and frustratingly slow. Gemzar has been used since the late 90's. Before that, 5-FU that's still in use with combinations today.

      For comparison, dad's Gemzar (gemcitabine) chemotherapy was 3 weeks on, 1 week off, and without looking back, I think it cost somewhere around $5,000 per week for the chemotherapy portion of his care. The big problem with pancreatic cancer is that most cases are not discovered until it's late in the game when symptoms show up, and you're at stage 4. I think it will be exciting when they're able to detect it earlier on, and give people a real chance.

      Some people do have better results than others, so my words of encouragement would be not to give up hope that you can't have good quality time left, and push forward beyond what other people might tell you or what others have experienced. Seven months ago, I sat in a little room with the doctor and my dad, and the doctor said, "You have six months to live." Nobody knows. Don't listen to them. Everyone's different.

      Dad has stopped treatment. Hospice has so far been pleasant-- much better than any of the craziness of the past year. He has a very nice doctor, and nurses. They all say he looks like he's doing very well at this point. Knock wood. It costs him nothing, which is amazing. They provide all the medications related to his cancers, except the over the counter items like the laxatives.

      If I was young, in otherwise good shape, and was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I might ask about the FOLFIRINOX, which is tough on the body, but as far as extending life, still looks like it's the thing. However, for me, quality is more important than quantity. Without a real knockout punch available, I like the Hospice approach. Some people are fighters, and that's great too if you want to throw everything you can at it. CaptainBob here on whatnext is an example of someone who has really beat the heck out of his pancreatic cancer, even going outside the box with chemoembolization for his liver tumor.

      I have examined these possibilities for this type and stage of cancer in seeking options: chemotherapy and clinical trials, radiation therapy, surgery, radio frequency ablation for liver tumors, chemoembolization for liver tumors, radioembolization for liver tumors, Complimentary and Alternative Medicine, and palliative or Hospice care. Radiation isn't even considered for dad because it's in his liver. Surgery is not an option for his condition. Chemo has failed, and second line chemo wouldn't add much except unnecessary suffering. I did discuss chemoembolization and those other two procedures with the doctor, but decided against looking into it further because of the pain involved and potential for something else to go wrong. That doesn't leave much choice for us.

      There are some things on the horizon that look interesting with regard to chemotherapy, from my unprofessional perspective. At this point, if you're going with chemo, you go until the first line treatment fails, then you can think about options for clinical trial studies. If you're a fighter, make use of these great free resources like pancan.org . They have a database of doctors who have more experience in this type of cancer. You may benefit from that experience and advice early in the game when it can make a difference.

      over 4 years ago
    • po18guy's Avatar

      One of the main barriers, so to speak, in pancreatic treatment is the membrane that the tumor grows, and which keeps much of the chemo out. A researcher at Fred Hutchinson lost his father to pancreatic and decided to break down the barrier: https://www.fhcrc.org/en/news/releases/2012/03/pancreas-cancer-tumors-sunil-hingorani-clinical-research.html

      over 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      Greg, Sorry about the sign on I got to the article through google news which let me to the article without registering, buyt that link is now gone. There also was an article in the New York Times on the trials. Since this was a trial of an existing drug but a new application I think it was the drug company making the press release and I do not recall any Univerisity mentioned.

      Freebird, I can understand your frustration with thwe research not helping everyone and in your case your dad's condition. Reading research findings can be tricky. We all hope for the big breakthrough that results in a sure fire cure but progress seems to be in small steps as this one appears to be. Good Luck with your dad.

      over 4 years ago
    • alivenwell's Avatar

      Randy Pausch wrote a fantastic book about the things he wanted to do in his life.
      He did have pancreatic cancer but I highly recommend reading his book and hearing his last lecture.

      over 4 years ago

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