The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer used to be considered a death sentence, due to its late detection and difficulty in treatment delivery. With the help of science and technology, pancreatic cancer is a now treatable cancer. Scientists have created a glass bubble nanocarrier to help make the treatment of pancreatic cancer more effective. An Artificial Intelligence program has been created to help detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages to help increase survivability for patients diagnosed with this cancer. Scientists have discovered that using photodynamic therapy to treat many cancers, including pancreatic cancer, is more specific in its delivery and less harmful to the patient.
‘Glass Bubble’ Nanocarrier Boosts Effects of Combination Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
In hopes of turning the tide, UCLA researchers have developed a technology that delivers a combination therapy to pancreatic tumors using nanoscale particles loaded with irinotecan, a chemotherapy drug approved as part of a drug regimen for pancreatic cancer, and 3M-052, an investigative drug that can boost immune activity and help overcome tumors’ resistance reports Phys.org . One of the reasons pancreatic cancers are hard to treat is that the cancer is protected by biological factors that make it resist treatment. The use of the nanoparticle for treatment helps to shrink the cancerous tumors and prevent metastasis. This nanocarrier attracts more cancer killing immune cells to the pancreatic tumors. There is a double layer of lipids surrounding the core of the glass bubble. The bubble is made of silica and has a hollow core filled with the cancer drugs. The fatty tail of the carrier is used for the second drug delivery. This nanocarrier method helps prevent drug leakage and toxicity to surrounding tissues. It can break through the rugged barrier that is around the pancreatic cancer tumors to deliver the treatment. Find more information here.
Pancreatic Cancer: New AI Program Could Help with Early Detection
If caught early, pancreatic cancer is treatable. Experts say that early detection is the best way to improve the chances of survival as the prognosis worsens significantly once the tumor grows beyond 2 centimeters reports healthline.com . There are currently no valid screening tests for this deadly cancer for patients without any symptoms. The standard use of CT scans for detection does not always find the tumors in the difficult to visualize pancreas. The pancreas is close to many other structures and varies in size and shape. In Taiwan, scientists have made a clinically applicable computer aided detection tool that helps to easily find the pancreas. This program is accurately finding pancreatic cancer in its early stages. The use of liquid biopsy in combination with this AI program work together for early detection. Liquid biopsy is a blood test that finds the biomarkers showing there is cancer present. This program offers hope for early detection of pancreatic cancer and increases survivability for patients. Find more information here.
Photodynamic Therapy Offers Promise for Cancer Treatment
Photodynamic therapy –the use of precisely targeted light, usually from a laser, that activates or “turns on” a drug to kill cells- has been used mostly to treat skin cancers, since it is easier to deliver light to the outside of the body. But light does not travel far through the body tissues reports MedicalXpress.com . The goal of this therapy is to get the light as close as possible to red light, which has the longest wavelength, to penetrate tissue using the lowest energy. The use of the lower energy causes less harm to surrounding tissues. Doctors use a two-photon light, in which two particles of light hit at the same time. The cancer killing molecule that is activated only by light can destroy cancer cells that are resistant to chemotherapy. This therapy has been tested on drug resistant pancreatic and breast cancers. Scientists can examine cancers for levels of a certain protein using phototherapy. The light fluoresces differently for various levels. A high level of the protein shows red, and a low level shows yellow. This test shows whether the patient will be responsive or resistant to chemotherapy. If the patient is resistant, doctors can use the photodynamic therapy. This therapy is given via IV infusion in an outpatient setting and fiber optics deliver the light. Find more information here.
Dana Kaiser is a professional writer and a strong patient advocate, learning from experience during her 22-year career as a nurse.