PEGPH20 delivers the enzyme that breaks down hyaluronic acid in the tumor, which relives the pressure of collapsed blood vessels and allows circulating drugs to get to the tumor cells. What I really like about the studies with this drug is that in early studies they asked if it worked for all patients or if you had to have a certain level of hyaluronic acid in your tumor before breaking down hyaluronic acid makes a difference. It turns out that not 100% of tumors have a lot of hyaluronic acid. Others have stromal involvement, but involving other proteins. I think the phase II results were very promising; it’s a molecularly driven approach, and patients are being selected on the basis of whether they are likely to respond.
What are the most significant challenges and hurdles to effective new treatments for pancreatic cancer?
The challenges include getting more patients with pancreatic cancer on clinical trials so we can test new approaches and see if they work, learning which patients are most likely to respond to what therapies, and getting all physicians across the United States to use best practices in treatment and supportive care so all patients get state-of-theart care.
PanCAN’s Patient Central, Clinical Trial Finder, and Know Your Tumor initiatives are designed to help accomplish the goal of improving clinical trial enrollment. Patient Central, our Patient Registry, and research publications contribute to education efforts. We coordinate efforts so we can use the information from patients with pancreatic cancer most effectively and efficiently to figure out the best treatments for future patients.