October 16, 2020 • 2 Min

Attacking Cancer’s Key Mechanisms to Treat Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

black and white image of laboratory equipment

Bill Dickinson; Flickr

A new drug targeting tumor metabolism is being tested for metastatic pancreatic cancer.

This clinical trial compares standard treatment with a new combination that includes the experimental drug SM-88 and MPS, a trio of already approved drugs that are used to treat diseases other than cancer.

A New Combination

SM-88 (racemetyrosine) attacks cancer cells in multiple ways. The drug is a modified version of a key building block of cancer cells. When this modified building block enters tumor cells, it disrupts key processes of cancer cells, including protein synthesis, defense mechanisms from the body’s immune system, and generates free radicals that lead to an oxidative stress-related cell death. These attacks are selective for cancer cells and spare healthy cells. SM-88 is administered with other FDA-approved drugs to enhance its toxic effect.

MPS stands for methoxsalen, phenytoin, and sirolimus, all drugs approved to treat other diseases.  Sirolimus makes it easier for SM-88 to be taken up by cancer cells, while phenytoin and methoxsalen increase oxidative stress. The MPS combination is given at lower doses than recommended for approved uses.

Trial Details

This trial is divided into two parts. Part 1, which has completed enrollment, evaluated the safest and most effective dose of SM-88 with MPS. Part 2, which is seeking patients to enroll, is a randomized trial. Participants in the experimental arm will receive the SM-88/MPS combination, while those in the control arm will get standard treatment with capecitabine, gemcitabine, or 5-FU. All participants must have had prior treatment with two chemotherapy regimens.

We encourage you to consult your physicians for clinical trials that may be right for you. The website provides more details about this trial as well as many others. You can visit the EmergingMed Trial Finder for a listing of all active pancreatic cancer clinical trials.

This trial has been completed.

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