The drug also known as bevacizumab is an anti-angiogenesis drug that is designed to inhibit the growth of blood vessels in tumours.
The test is being done to see that it in combination with abdominal radiation therapy and chemotherapy can reduce localized pancreatic tumours that have not metastasized or spread to other systems or organs in the body.
Northwestern Memorial is the sole clinical site where the research trial is being conducted.
"Our findings from the previous study suggest that the combination of chemotherapy and radiation is a safe and effective treatment method to reduce the local extent of pancreatic tumors," said Dr. Talamonti, MD, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, associate professor of surgery at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and co-investigator on the study
Another view was presented by William Small, Jr., MD, radiation oncologist, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, associate professor, Radiation Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and principal investigator for the trial, "The current study, which will be conducted over two years, will help us evaluate whether adding Avastin may also provide an effective combination to reduce the tumour and increase survival rates. Avastin is designed to inhibit Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), a protein that plays an important role in tumour angiogenesis or blood vessel formation, and maintenance of existing tumour vessels. By inhibiting VEGF, Avastin is thought to interfere with the blood supply to tumours, a process that is critical to tumour growth and metastasis."
As per statistics by the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among adults in America. Approximately 1 out of 4 patients with pancreatic cancer will live at least one year after the cancer is found.
Therefore it is very important that clinical trials are conducted and new viable solutions are found for this problem.