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Pancreatic cancer breakthrough

24 July 2018

A new clinical trial, funded with the help of generous Canadian Cancer Society donors like you, has produced life-changing results: patients who received the new treatment regimen were almost twice as likely to survive.

This exciting finding could change clinical practice worldwide for pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most difficult to treat and deadly cancers. Roughly 10-20% of patients are eligible to have surgery followed by chemotherapy to remove their tumours and reduce the odds of cancer returning. However, nearly three-quarters of these patients experience a relapse.

The clinical trial, led by Dr Jim Biagi, a researcher & oncologist at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario at Kingston General Hospital, found that a new 4-drug chemotherapy regimen was more effective than the standard of care in delaying cancer relapse and extending survival.

Patients who received the new treatment remained cancer-free for 9 months longer and lived, on average, 1.5 years longer than those given the standard chemotherapy.

“Patients who receive this treatment after surgery are almost twice as likely to survive,” says Dr Biagi. “This is life-changing for these patients and should impact how we treat pancreatic cancer around the world.”

One of these patients is Kathleen Kennedy.

“I knew that there could be risks, but I also knew that it would be helpful – if not immediately to me, then for other pancreatic cancer patients in the future,” says Kennedy. “Now, three disease-free years later, I feel so blessed that this treatment has afforded me more time with my husband, children and grandchildren.

Thanks to you, researchers are making progress against hard-to-treat cancers like pancreatic and testing new therapies that will save even more lives.