Hitting the Target in Pancreatic Cancer

Here’s some info in honor of National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest to treat. However, three independent studies suggest a way.

Pancreatic cancer

Researchers are conducting clinical trials that use two drugs in tandem to thwart a mutated gene KRAS, that drives tumor growth in 95% of patients with pancreatic cancer.

KRAS is one of the most elusive targets in cancer research. This is because the KRAS protein lacks places where a small-molecule drug can bind and impair its function.

Mutant KRAS produce continuous growth signals, passed from one protein to the next, that results in a chain reaction called a signaling pathway. Over six of these pathways stem from KRAS. If one is impaired, the others can pick up the slack.

Researchers found that by eliminating the autophagy pathway that provides energy for the cancer cells at the same time that another drug indirectly targets KRAS, they can shrink pancreatic cancer tumors in mice. This is huge because the KRAS gene is mutated in 30% of all cancers, including some types of colorectal and lung cancer.

One clinical trial to explore this treatment is already enrolling participants. A second is expected to launch in the near future.

For more information, see National Cancer Institute http://www.NationalCancerInstitute.org


Cancer Warriors Devotional

I haven’t shared anything about my book being published in February 4 through Illumify Media Global. It’s titled Cancer Warriors: 52 Devotions for Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them. 

The process for this has been crazy fast. I signed the agreement in August of THIS year. So far, we’ve completed the back cover copy. I’m waiting copy editing and a book cover.

I also got head shots. After 12 years, I was overdue. My thanks for Sandy Puc Photography.

I’ll keep you posted!


World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Day

Pancreatic cancer

In honor of this month, I’d like to share some information about the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. It is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, killing more people than breast cancer. It’s projected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths by 2020.

Only nine percent of people with pancreatic cancer will live five years beyond diagnosis. In 2018, more than 55,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the disease and an estimated 44,000 people will die.

Because more people are getting imaging tests such as CT scans, benign and pre-cancerous growths are being found more often. However, most patients are diagnosed when the disease has spread outside of the pancreas and surgery is no longer an option. The chances of survival increase tenfold if a patient is diagnosed in time for surgery.

Several risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing pancreatic cancer: family history of the disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, smoking, obesity, race, age, and diet.

Common symptoms include abdominal or mid-back pain, unexplained weight loss, jaundice, loss of appetite, nausea, changes in stool, and new-onset diabetes. Often these symptoms are vague and attributed to other conditions.

For more information, visit the website of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, http://www.pancan.org.