It is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is expected to be top three in Europe for ten years. In order to prevent the increase in cases of pancreatic cancer, new treatments and forms of early diagnosis must be found, as discussed by four experts from different parts of the world.
This Focus meeting"- the exchange of experience among several doctors – takes place on the World Day of Pancreatic Cancer, one of the" black beasts "of oncology, as once told by physician and researcher Manuel Sobrinho Simoes, because the diagnosis is almost always late and there is no effective therapy for attacking one of the deadliest carcinoma (the overall survival rate is 10%). This is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and is expected to be the second or third in Europe for ten years from now.
Karlos Carvalho, director of the worm welding unit at the Champalimaud Center and one of the focal point speakers, points to an early diagnosis as the "first bet" that facilitates the treatment of this tumor. For, he says VISION in the interval of the meeting, "this is a difficult cancer".
Screening for the general population is not yet possible, but there are "advanced studies", so it can be diagnosed through a "blood trap". "It's an important hope," he says.
For specialists, the second bet is to "begin to identify populations of greater risk," because when diagnosis is performed, more than half of patients already have metastases.
The third bet is to understand why this tumor has such "drug resistance" and because it "develops so quickly".
To better understand, carcinogenic pancreatic cancer cells "get the fibrosis around them" that protects them from therapy, it's like the cancer is protected. When metastatic to another organ occurs the same happens, tissue is created around it.
Also, for this reason, immunotherapy has residual success in these patients. It only has an "effect in 1% of cases".
"We need to find new forms of immunotherapy, except today. We should look at treatments that are already available and improve them through new strategies," explains Carlos Carvalho.
Let's remind that the Champalimaud Foundation in 2020 will open a center for the research and treatment of pancreatic cancer. This project finances 50 million euros from Mauritius and Chalotte Botton (Mauricio is the grandson of the founder of Danone). The "Center of Pancreas Champagne" will be built in Bethlehem, next to the Champalimood Center for the unknown in Bethlehem.