Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common type of pancreatic cancer, accounting for more than 90% of cases. It’s extremely difficult to treat because of the collagen-fiber barrier forms around the tumor. The barrier prevents cancer-fighting drugs or T cells from penetrating the tumor, contributing to the cancer’s notorious ability to metastasize and its resistance to the body’s immune response.
In a study involving mice that published online on November 5 in the Journal For ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, Claudia Gravekamp, Ph.D., and Ilse Rooman, Ph.D., show that combining nicotinamide (the active form of niacin) with the chemotherapy drug gemcitabine thinned out the pancreatic cancer’s barrier, improved the influx of T cells into the tumors, bolstered the immune response, and activated CD4 T cells—all of which helped shrink pancreatic tumors and their metastases and improved the survival rate of mice. The findings could lead to clinical trials that investigate the effects of this nicotinamide/gemcitabine combination in pancreatic cancer patients.
Dr. Gravekamp is an associate professor of microbiology & immunology at Einstein. Dr. Rooman is professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium and program director for pancreatic cancer at the Anticancer Fund, Belgium that financially supported the study.
Posted on: Thursday, January 07, 2021