Topic: Related Drug Developements that Canbe ofBenefit to Cholangiocarcinoma
November marks Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 44,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and over 37,000 deaths are expected from the disease in 2011. It has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers; 74% of patients die within the first year of diagnosis and 94% of patients die within five years. Out of the top 15 cancer sites, pancreatic cancer is the only one with a five-year relative survival rate in the single digits [6%].
Visibility for the disease is on the rise following the recent deaths of Apple, Inc. (AAPL) co-founder Steve Jobs, and Ralph Steinman, a cell biologist who died several days before being named one of three winners for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine. While awareness is increasing, there is an urgent need for more effective treatments and diagnostics to detect the disease earlier due to the fact that the number of new pancreatic cancer cases is projected to increase by 55% from 2010 to 2030.
The disease remains one of the most difficult to treat due to its extreme resistance to treatment and few early symptoms. At the time of initial diagnosis, 50% of patients have distant metastases to the liver or peritoneal surface, and more than 80% of the remaining patients have locally advanced tumors [confined to the pancreas but unresectable]. The majority of pancreatic tumors [95%] are adenocarcinomas that mainly develop from exocrine cells in the tissues of the pancreas. The tumors are characterized by an aggressive behavior with a fast progression rate that makes them highly metastatic. In contrast, neuroendocrine tumors of pancreatic origin [pancreatic NET, also known as islet cell tumors] are not as common [<2%] and are considered less deadly.
Illustrating the difference between the two, Hollywood actor Patrick Swayze was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic exocrine cancer that had already spread to the liver in March 2008 and lost his battle with the disease in September 2009 at the age of 57. Apple