Italians see better pancreatic cancer treatment

Verona University-led team publishes findings

(ANSA) - Verona, April 18 - An international group of researchers led by Verona University's Davide Melisi have come up with a new therapeutic strategy for treating patients affected with advanced pancreatic surgery.
    The researchers have shown that a molecule called galunisertib is capable of inhibiting the action of TGFβ, one of the main factors in the disease's growth and spread.
    The new drug, in addition to standard chemotherapy with gemcitabina, can in fact increase in a statistically significant manner, overall survival and survival free of disease progression in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer and a very favourable toxicity profile.
    The results of the clinical trials with galunisertib were presented today that the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in New Orleans.
    "Cancer of the pancreas," said Melisi, "is one of the deadliest and least explored human tumours.
    "The severe prognosis of our patients is basically linked to phenomena of precocious metastasization during the development of this disease, which are responsible for the already advanced onset of most cases, the intrinsic aggressiveness of this disease, and, above all, the limited efficacy of current treatments with classic chemotherapy drugs.
    "For this reason, in the last few years, we have focused our studies on the role of the various signals induced by TGFβ which are the reason of the particular resistance of the cancer to classic chemotherapy drugs in various preclinical trials".
    The international clinical trials were conducted in Verona by the Clinical Research Centre of the hospital to assess the efficacy and tolerability of the treatment with gemcitabina in combination with the new drug in in 156 patients affected by advanced cancer of the pancreas.


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