September 7, 2019

School of Medicine explores new pancreatic cancer study

By Matthew Keck —

The first patient in AngioDynamics’ NanoKnife Irreversible Electroporation (IRE) clinical study was enrolled at the University of Louisville in early August. This study supports using the NanoKnife system to treat stage three pancreatic cancer patients.

“The Main Goal is to extend quality of life time for patients with Locally Advanced Stage Three Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma,” said Dr. Robert C.G. Martin, co-principal investigator of the DIRECT study; director, Division of Surgical Oncology; professor of surgery, University of Louisville and surgical oncologist with U of L Physicians–Surgical Oncology. He said that patients must have stage three Locally Advanced Pancreatic Cancer (LAPC) to enroll in the program.

The study is utilizing IRE, which is a non-thermal based electrical current ablation therapy. This treatment is being used to eradicate LAPC and increase the survival rate of patients in these late stages.

According to the American Cancer Society website over 56,000 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and over 45,000 will die from it annually. Their website said pancreatic cancer accounts for three percent of cancers in America and seven percent of cancer related deaths.

Patients with stage three pancreatic cancer fall into the range of “regional,” meaning that the cancer has spread outside the pancreas to nearby structures or lymph nodes. Those in this stage have about a 12 percent of survival according to the American Cancer Society.

“AngioDynamics’ DIRECT clinical study features a comprehensive data collection strategy that will provide meaningful clinical information to health care professionals, support a regulatory indication for the treatment of stage III pancreatic cancer and facilitate reimbursement for hospitals and treating physicians,” said U of L School of Medicine in their release.

AngioDynamics expects that each NanoKnife arm will be able to treat approximately 250 patients and an equal number of control patients.

This study will be a continuation of the research of Dr. Martin and other U of L care providers. Their research has helped triple the chance of surviving stage III pancreatic cancer.

Since the 1930s the pancreatic cancer mortality rate has steadily increased for females whiles males has plateaued. As of 2016 about every 9.7 out of 100,000 females and every 12.7 of males will die of pancreatic cancer.

Since early August the study has enrolled a total of five people with the intention of more.

Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal

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