Due to a perfect storm of contributing factors, pancreatic cancer is probably the most notoriously intractable of all cancer types, with a dismal prognosis and a dearth of effective treatment options. The history of drug development for this disease is littered with failures. There is an urgent need for new approaches, particularly since pancreatic cancer is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality by 2030.1
Table. Selected Clinical Trials in Pancreatic Cancer
Meanwhile, researchers believe that identifying effective combinations that can be used to overcome the immunosuppressive nature of pancreatic cancers could be the key to unleashing the power of immunotherapy against this tumor type.
The prognosis for patients with pancreatic cancer, which presents as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) in the majority of cases, has remained stubbornly dismal over the past several decades, with 5-year survival rates in the single digits.2,3
Hacking the Pressure
Although elevated fluid pressure in the tumor microenvironment was first described more than 60 years ago,15 researchers have just recently begun to unravel some of the molecular mechanisms responsible. In pancreatic cancer, there is one component in particular that seems to play a central role, and its discovery has yielded one of the most promising new treatment strategies.
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