Top 5 biotech attacks on pancreatic cancer

Here are the most promising vaccines and drugs that have raised the bar for treatment of this deadly cancer with an exceedingly low survival rate. Most are in late-stage development.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor

The recent deaths of Apple cofounder Steve Jobs and Nobel laureate Ralph Steinman brought the world's attention to one of the deadliest cancers.

Now, FierceBiotech has complied a list of 5 of the industry’s most promising developmental drugs against pancreatic cancer, which has an average 5-year survival rate of 3.3% after diagnosis.

Most of these drugs and vaccines are in late-stage development, which means there’s already evidence that the treatments provide benefits to patients during earlier clinical trials.

1. Ganitumab (AMG 479) from Amgen, Takeda
This is a ‘monoclonal antibody’ drug, which means it’s made from an immune cell for one specific role. It’s designed to block a chemical signal that allows tumors to grow unchecked.

2. GV1001 from Pharmexa, KAEL GemVax, Cancer Research UK, Roche
This is a vaccine made from fragments of a protein present on the surface of cancer cells. With the immune system trained to recognize the proteins, researchers hope the body will work with standard chemotherapy to find and destroy pancreatic cancer cells.

3. HyperAcute Pancreas from NewLink Genetics
This vaccine is made of two separate pancreatic cancer cell lines that are genetically engineered. When the body attacks these engineered cells, the immune system trains itself to recognize and destroy the naturally occurring version of the disease.

4. GI-4000 from GlobeImmune
This vaccine uses genetically modified baker's yeast that expresses proteins that stimulate the immune cells to act against a desired target. When the heat-killed yeasts are injected into patients, the immune system attacks the imposters and learns how to identify and eliminate the protein elsewhere in the body.

5. MM-398 from Merrimack Pharmaceuticals
This is a ‘nano-formulated’ chemotherapy. It’s a formulation of the approved chemo drug irinotecan that is encapsulated in tiny fatty particles to improve its cancer-fighting properties.

Via FierceBiotech.

Image by shadphotos via Flickr

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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