Program ID: Innovation Anthology #412
Program Date: 07/28/2011
Program Category: Health and Medicine, Women in Science
Study Targets Better Treatment for Pancreas Cancer
Cancer of the pancreas is one of the most difficult cancers to both diagnose and treat.
Standard treatment uses a chemotherapy called gemcitabine. But it doesn’t always work.
Dr. Jennifer Spratlin has received funding from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions and the Cancer Research Foundation to better target treatment for cancer patients who’ve had surgery.
As Dr. Spratlin explains, the key is whether a patient has a genetic biomarker called the hENT1 protein.
DR. JENNIFER SPRATLIN: So we’re looking at patients tumours first, and we’re testing for this protein called hENT1. If they have that protein, we expect that gemcitabine, the standard medicine, would work very well because it can get into cells. If they do not have the protein or there’s a low amount of protein, they would then get the 5FU. And what we’re expecting to see is that by selecting patients out using this biomarker, we would be able to make people live longer because they are getting a chemotherapy that attacks the cancer specifically and personalizes the medicine for themselves.
In a second study, Dr. Spratlin will use the hENT1 biomarker to help determine treatments with fewer side effects for patients with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
Thanks today to Alberta Innovates Health Solutions
FOR INNOVATION ANTHOLOGY
I’M CHERYL CROUCHER