There are no effective treatment methods for pancreatic cancer. Patients therefore have little chance of living longer than five years after diagnosis.
The pancreas produces the hormone insulin, which is necessary for the cells to absorb the sugars used in the cells’ metabolism. With too little or no insulin production in the pancreas, diabetes develops.
In a possible breakthrough, researchers at Tel Aviv University have caused cancer cells in the pancreas to destroy themselves.
-Research is very promising when it comes to finding a new and effective cure for the aggressive form of cancer, the university said in a statement to the Times of Israel.
Professor Malka Cohen-Armon and her working group at Tel Aviv University, in collaboration with Dr. Talia Golan and her group at the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan discovered the effect of the molecule PJ34 on cancer cells.
The researchers first inserted pancreatic cancer cells from a human just under the skin into mice with weakened immune systems so that the foreign cells were not repelled.
They then injected the molecule PJ34 into the mouse’s bloodstream. The molecule was originally used in the treatment of patients with stroke. The mice were injected for 14 days. After 30 days, the number of cancer cells was reduced by 80-90 percent.
The molecule causes an abnormal reaction that occurs during the breakdown of human cancer cells and causes them to die quickly. And it only had an effect on the human cancer cells. The benign cells were not affected and the mice did not change weight or behavior, says Professor Cohen-Armon in an interview with i24news.
According to Cohen-Armon, studies have shown that PJ34 also has an “effective effect” on other types of cancer cells – such as aggressive breast, lung, brain and ovarian cancers.