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The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer hoovers at just 9%, underscoring the need for advances to cure this deadly form of cancer.
Researchers at Tel Aviv Univerity's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Cancer Research Center at Sheba Medical Center have developed a molecule they think can eradicate cancer cells.
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Molecule eradicates cancer cells in mice
In a recent research paper that was published in the journal Oncotarget, Prof. Malka Cohen-Armon of Tel Aviv University and Dr. Talia Golan of Sheba Medical Center explained how by injecting the PJ34 molecule in xenografts, it caused a "substantial eradication" of pancreas cancer cells.
The change in the tumor sized began to shrink after three weeks of daily injections of PJ34. The tumor disappeared completely on day 56.
Thirty-days after the treatment with the PJ34 injections ended, there was an 80% to 90% reduction in the number of cancer cells in the mouse's tumor. The mice didn't have any side-effects because of the treatment. It also didn't impact their weight or how they acted.
There's an immediate need to find a cure for pancreatic cancer
The PJ34 molecule was created to help with heat strokes but research with the molecule has revealed that it can cause cancer cells to die.
"A small molecule that prevents the clustering of NuMA in the mitotic spindle poles of human cancer cells efficiently eradicates PDAC cells. PJ34, which is permeable in the cell membrane, accessed and eradicated human PDAC cells in xenografts without impairing normal proliferating cells infiltrated into the tumors," wrote the researchers. "The exclusive cytotoxicity of PJ34 in human cancer cells offers a new model of pancreas cancer therapy which does not impair normal tissues."
While PJ34 can eradicate different types of cancer cells, researchers are focusing on pancreatic cancer because of the low survival rate after five years. It's also a type of cancer that is difficult to diagnose with many people learning they have it after it had already spread. The molecule is reportedly in pre-clinical testing trials are larger animals and humans can commence.