Pancreatic cancer drug in first trial

Sept. 15, 2010 at 7:15 PM

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- An investigational drug designed to penetrate and attack pancreatic cancer cells has been given to the first patient in a trial in Arizona, doctors say.

Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, a principal investigator in the Phase I clinical trial at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, says the drug ASG-5ME is a targeted compound meant to kill cancer cells selectively, a center release reported Wednesday.

Pancreatic cancer, fast-growing and difficult to treat, is the fourth-leading cause of cancer death in the United States.

"ASG-5ME is intended for pancreatic cancer patients who do not have a good prognosis with currently available therapies," Von Hoff said.

The new compound uses a monoclonal antibody against a target found in more than 90 percent of pancreatic cancer patients to selectively kill the pancreatic cancer cells, the release said.

"It is a precision approach that is designed to avoid non-targeted cells, increasing anti-tumor activity in preclinical models and potentially reducing the toxic effects of traditional chemotherapy" Von Hoff said.

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