The scientists have discovered that the pancreatic cancer is a combination of at least 4 different diseases, each having a different cause and a different treatment.
Researchers believe that this knowledge will assist in the development of new drugs that target the Achilles’ heel of individual patients. They have so far seen exceptional results.
The analysis was done on 456 patients and has been published in the journal Nature.
Tumors are as a result of mutations in DNA which turn a healthy tissue cancerous- but still one more thing is involved in making a cancer.
As all the pancreatic cancers took a similar look, 4 classes of genetic errors were found to cause the formation of a tumor.
- Endocrine exocrine
- Pancreatic progenitor
One differentiating factor of the cancers is the survival time from diagnosis. This was four months in the case of squamous-type, which is half of that of other cancers.
The crucial part is that this knowledge could play a significant part in coming up with new treatments.
The researchers believe that this is the most comprehensive analysis of the pancreatic cancer.
It is the kind of breakthrough for a cancer type that has proved stubborn to treat.
In most cases, a patient diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is usually given less than a year survival time.
Only 1% of them after diagnosis live for more than 10 years.
Meanwhile, improvements have been made in prostate, colon and breast cancer care thus leaving pancreatic tumors as the deadliest of all other cancer; with an exception of lung cancer in some countries.
It is a tough cancer but matching drugs with some errors in the cancer will turn out to be helpful and give hopes in handling the cancer.
The research head at Pancreatic Cancer UK, Reynolds Leanne, said that “the findings of the research are incredibly exciting for any pancreatic cancer patient because it means that in future, patients will get the right treatment for the right cancer.”
If the prediction can be done more accurately, each patient will get a more effective treatment. Timely would also be provided.