A New Molecule to Fight Ovarian and Pancreatic Cancer

A new molecule developed by researchers at Stanford University may become one of the best allies in fighting ovarian and pancreatic cancer.
A New Molecule to Fight Ovarian and Pancreatic Cancer

Last update: 06 February, 2019

The Stanford Medicine College at the University of Stanford in California has developed something amazing. They have designed a molecule that may become one of best allies in fighting ovarian and pancreatic cancer by reducing tumor growth.

At the moment, the molecule is still in the experimental stage, but the results from tests done on lab rats are very positive. The molecule works at an encouraging level. It not only stops the advance of cancer but also causes regression.

The study has been published in various sources, including Stanford Medicine. The scientists feel very hopeful that with it we can find a cure for these major diseases in the future.

A “baseball glove” against ovarian and pancreatic cancer

They call the molecule “the baseball glove.” This is because of both how it presents itself and how it acts. First, it uses bait to “catch” cancer cells. Later, it removes them from the game, much like a baseball glove.

Amato Giaccia is the director of this significant study. He and his team are trying to find new practical focuses for the treatment of ovarian and pancreatic cancers.

These two diseases have many traits in common. Because of this, Giaccia decided to undertake a study that could apply to both of these oncological diseases. Here’s what they have in common:

  • Both of these diseases are usually hard to detect in their initial stages. They also tend to progress very quickly.
  • Tumors appear on the ovaries or the pancreas. When these tumors are discovered, the affected parts of the organs are surgically removed.
  • After that, the patient undergoes a battery of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.
  • The treatments are generally very aggressive. The patient is left weak. Unfortunately, these treatments also don’t eliminate the risk of cancer coming back.

Now let’s take a look at how this molecule functions and how it could possible change medicine and cancer treatments.

The molecule that removes cancer cells from the game

Amato Giaccia

As we mentioned, both ovarian and pancreatic cancer progress very rapidly. By the time a patient is diagnosed, other organs may also already be affected by the cancer.

  • A metastasized cancer is a big challenge for investigators. It’s also a source of anxiety for families and patients.
  • Up until now, most medical studies focused on finding a way to slow the advance of cancer to give the patient a good quality of life.
  • However, doctor Amato Giaccia and his team have developed a molecule that not only stops tumor growth, but also causes regression.

The molecule acts as bait. It combines with a protein from the sixth gene and then stops tumor growth.

  • It does this by stopping the function of the tyrosine kinase receptors, an essential element in the survival and growth of tumor cells.
  • This molecule, may be able to completely inoculate the patient. This is especially true if the treatment goes along with chemotherapy for a more effective treatment.

By doing this, this molecule destroys the tumors and the disease regresses.

Cancer cells

Expectations for the future

The study is still in an experimental stage. So far, results have only been achieved in animals.

We’re still waiting for the long-awaited jump to clinical trials. After all, there are ovarian and pancreatic cancer patients who are waiting for a cure for their disease.

At the moment, this molecule has been called MYD1-72. Scientists hope that it may provide the following benefits:

  • It may be offered as a less aggressive, complementary therapy. Patients’ kidneys and immune systems won’t be as affected by the treatment with this molecule.
  • MYD1-72 has lead to a 95% reduction for diseases that are not in the advanced stage in animals.
  • In cases of advanced, metastasized cancer, the success rate is 51%. However, in more severe cases, doctors would still opt for a combination with chemotherapy to reduce the cancer’s ability to function.
Petri dishes for cancer research

Clinical trials will begin in the near future.

The hope is that the results will be very positive. The scientists in charge of this study have foreseen the development of new molecules, or “baseball gloves,” to treat other kinds f cancer, as well.

Meanwhile, we’ll stay tuned for new advances.

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