December 9, 2016 • 2 Min

Muting Chemical Signals to Slow or Stop the Spread of Pancreatic Cancer

Abstract black and white image of laboratory equipment and tubes

Jennifer Tomaloff; Flickr

A new drug attacks the chemical signals that promote tumor growth, but does it slow or stop the spread of pancreatic cancer? What is the best dose of this drug?

Researchers are conducting a clinical trial for patients with pancreatic cancer that has metastasized.

Shutting Off Chemical Signals in the Body

Signaling between immune cells and cancer cells is done by specially coded proteins called chemokines, which carry information that direct the cells’ behavior. The chemokines attach to specific receptors on a cell and signal for the cell to behave one way or another. A chemokine antagonist blocks a specific chemokine from binding to its receptor, thus preventing the cell behavior the chemokine is programmed to initiate.

Researchers look for ways to slow or stop the cell behaviors that promote cancer spread. PF-04136309 is a chemokine antagonist that binds to a receptor that signals for processes such as inflammation, blood vessel growth, and the spread of tumor cells.

Finding the Best Dose

This clinical trial has two parts. The first part is an open-label trial. All participants receive chemotherapy with nab-paclitaxel, which inhibits cell division and promotes cell death, and gemcitabine, which is converted into two metabolites that cause cell death (one reduces the number of proteins available to make DNA; the other shortens the DNA strands). PF-04136309 is given in increasing doses along with the other two drugs, as researchers look for the most effective and tolerable dose of the new drug.

The second phase is randomized, so some participants will receive nab-paclitaxel and gemcitabine plus a placebo, while others will receive the combination plus PF-04136309, to compare which treatment is more effective at slowing the cancer.

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 study was stopped by the sponsor as of November 2017.

How do I find clinical trials?

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