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New Drugs May Prevent Pancreatic Cancer

September 1, 2008

Several new drugs have been successful in laboratory studies for treating pancreatic cancer, a deadly malignancy with a poor prognosis. Even though prevention may be the ultimate solution, developing effective new drugs and drug combinations for treating pancreatic cancer is essential.

Karen Liby, PhD, who is working in the laboratory of noted Dartmouth investigator Michael Sporn, MD, is conducting research that suggests that triterpenoids (naturally-occurring organic chemicals) and rexinoids (chemicals related to Vitamin A) used alone or in combination can prevent and treat pancreatic cancer in the laboratory by both stopping cell proliferation and killing developed cancer cells. Liby's previous research showed that these drugs kill breast and lung cancer cells. "Our goals are to develop new therapies for treating human pancreatic cancer and eventually to develop strategies for preventing it, especially in high risk patients," says Liby, a research assistant professor of medicine whose research is funded in part by the American Cancer Society.

Last year Liby received the Wilson S. Stone Memorial Award from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, an award that recognizes an outstanding young scientist doing biomedical science research in the US.

Click here for more information the development of chemoprevention drugs at Norris Cotton Cancer Center.