Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Researchers move closer to origins of pancreatic cancer

Full article: 

When you're going about your life, seemingly healthy (aside from bouts of pancreatitis, in Jason's case) and then you're suddenly hit with a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, you probably ask yourself "Why me? How did this happen?" Researchers are now honing in on the origins of pancreatic cancer and it looks like genetics and heredity may be to blame.

"A hereditary disposition

Experts have previously found that some cases of pancreatic cancer appear to run within family groups, though despite this, it is largely unknown specifically which genes are responsible for a hereditary disposition toward the disease.
Of the 766 patients, around 9% had first-degree relatives with pancreatic cancer. The researchers found that these patients with familial pancreatic cancer tended to have more pre-cancerous tissue in the area adjacent to their cancer than those with sporadic pancreatic cancer."

"Likely that inherited genes play 'a significant role'

"These findings are important because they suggest that the genes we inherit from our parents likely play a significant role in our lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer," says Dr. Biankin. He continues:
"Secondly, they emphasize that when assessing someone's individual risk of developing pancreatic cancer, it may be important to assess not just family history of pancreatic cancer but other malignancies too. Finally, our data emphasize the importance of smoking abstinence."
The authors conclude that, in order to identify susceptibility genes, strong clinical characterization of familial pancreatic cases will be essential."
"Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study published in the journal Nature Medicine, detailing a newly discovered marker that could lead to the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
Written by 
Copyright: Medical News Today"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Pentel Partners with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to Strike Out Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest five-year survival rate of all major cancers at just 6 percent, while seventy-three percent of patients die in the first year of diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is a leading cause of cancer death because there are currently no detection tools to diagnose the disease in its early stages (via

"To many, this month elicits salivation over the thought of a perfectly carved turkey shared ‘round the table with loved ones. Others still pass the Thanksgiving spirit forward and volunteer at local soup kitchens, canned food drives and more, feeding the less fortunate.

Though November is often known for Thanksgiving feasts and the start of the holiday season, this month also sheds light on a very important, though lesser-known issue: National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

This year, Pentel of America is honored to team up with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to strike out cancer, with your help. As purple is the official color of pancreatic cancer awareness, five cents of each violet EnerGel-X package will support research and advocacy via the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Learn more about pancreatic cancer and what you can do to help at "

What does November mean to you?

To find other ways you can help, including FREE fliers you can print and/or share on social media, click here, or click "Join the Fight" above. Thank you!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Biomarker, Potential Targeted Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer Discovered

Link to full article:

Xiaoyang Qi, PhD
CINCINNATI—University of Cincinnati researchers have discovered a biomarker, known as phosphatidylserine (PS), for pancreatic cancer that could be effectively targeted, creating a potential therapy for a condition that has a small survival rate.

These findings, being published in the Oct. 4, 2013, online edition of PLOS ONE, also show that the use of a biotherapy consisting of a lysosomal protein, known as saposin C (SapC), and a phospholipid, known as dioleoylphosphatidylserine (DOPS), can be combined into tiny cavities, or nanovesicles, to target and kill pancreatic cancer cells.

Lysosomes are membrane-enclosed organelles that contain enzymes capable of breaking down all types of biological components; phospholipids are a major components of all cell membranes and form lipid bilayers—or cell membranes.

"Only a small number of promising drugs target pancreatic cancer, which is the fourth-leading cause of cancer deaths, with a five-year survival of less than 5 percent,” says Xiaoyang Qi, PhD, associate professor of hematology oncology at UC and lead researcher on the study.

"Pancreatic cancer is usually asymptomatic in the early stages, while frequently invading lymph nodes and the liver, and less often the lungs and visceral organs. Current treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, have failed to improve long-term survival.”

Qi says his lab and collaborators previously found that the combination of two natural cellular components, called SapC-DOPS, which were assembled and delivered using cancer-selective nanovesicles, caused cell death in other cancer cell types, including brain, lung, skin, prostate, blood and breast cancer, while sparing normal cells and tissues.

"We also investigated the efficacy and systemic biodistribution of SapC-DOPS nanovesicles in animal models and found that it targeted and halted growth of certain cancer cells and showed no toxic effects in non-tumor tissues. In this study, we selectively targeted the cell membrane of pancreatic tumors to see if we could destroy malignant pancreatic cells without harming normal tissues and cells.”

Qi says a distinguishing feature of SapC-DOPS is its ability to bind to phosphatidylseriine (PS), a lipid, which is found on the membrane surfaces of pancreatic tumor cells...

To track tumor cells, human pancreatic tumor cells were illuminated with dye as well, and the same imaging device was used to identify and monitor them.

"We observed that the nanovesicles selectively killed human pancreatic cancer cells, and the noncancerous, or untransformed cells, remained unaffected,” he says. "This toxic effect correlated to the surface exposure level of PS on the tumor cells.”

Qi adds that animals treated with SapC-DOPS showed clear survival benefits and their tumors shrank or disappeared.

"Furthermore, using a double-tracking method in live models, we showed that the nanovesicles were specifically targeted to the tumors,” he says. "These data suggest that the acidic phospholipid PS is a biomarker for pancreatic cancer that can be effectively targeted for therapy using cancer-selective SapC-DOPS nanovesicles.

"This study provides convincing evidence in support of developing a new therapeutic approach to pancreatic cancer. This technology is now being licensed and will hopefully be available in clinical trials soon.”

"Dr. Qi ‘s discovery has great potential to be developed into diagnostics and therapies for pancreatic cancer,” says Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, director of the Cincinnati Cancer Center and Jacob G. Schmidlapp Professor and Chair of Environmental Health. "This type of research helps fulfill the mission of the National Cancer Institute to promote translation of research from the bench to the bedside.”

This study was investigator initiated and was funded in part by a grant from the division of hematology oncology.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bacterial Infections May Play a Role in Pancreatic Cancer

From this Article:

Helicobacter (H Pylori) Bacteria Illustration
Bacterial infections may play a role in triggering pancreatic cancer, according to recent research.
A growing number of studies suggest a role for infections --primarily of the stomach and gums -- in pancreatic cancer. The disease is a particularly deadly cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates will kill nearly 38,500 Americans in 2013.
"Pancreatic cancer is the worst form of cancer that people can have," said Dr. Wasif Saif, director of the gastrointestinal oncology program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston.
"It's the cancer with the highest mortality rate - 96 percent mortality," he said.
Although pancreatic cancer is extremely fatal, researchers don't really know its main causes, Saif said. The known major risk factors account for less than 40 percent of all cases.
According to the study, two bacterial infections in particular have been strongly linked to pancreatic cancer in the scientific literature.
Data suggest that people who have been infected with Helicobacter pylori, a bacteria that is linked with stomach cancer and peptic ulcers, and Porphyrmomonas gingivalis, an infection involved in gum disease and poor dental hygiene, may be more prone to developing pancreatic cancer.
Several theories aim to explain why these infections may be contributing to the progression of pancreatic cancer, Saif said. One is that the infections cause bodywide inflammation, which is known to play a role in pancreatic cancer.
A second possible mechanism is that these bacterial infections lead to changes in the immune system. When the immune system is weakened or altered by infection, it doesn't work as well to defend the body against cancer.

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