Health Watch - Cancer Research: Pancreatic Cancer

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’ve been talking about some of the laboratory work being done in the search for cancer treatments. Most of these studies involve research at the molecular or cellular level, so they’re a long way from being used on patients, but they’re a first step toward the development of new cancer-fighting drugs.

Most pancreatic cancer cells hijack a protein used to fight viruses and use it to support their growth and survival. Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center screened more than 250,000 compounds and found one that blocked the action of this protein in about half of the pancreatic and small-cell lung cancer tissue cultures that were tested. Dr. Michael White, a UT Southwestern cell biologist, says this protein provides a good target for drugs to fight cancer. The next step is to test the compound in laboratory animals to see if the compound penetrates tumor tissues. Eventually, a drug may be developed based on this research.

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July 2011

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