New research pushes closer to novel therapy for pancreatic c
The pancreas is an abdominal organ that regulates blood sugar and also helps with digestion. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, usually abbreviated to PDAC, is responsible for more than 90% of pancreatic cancer. Just 11% of PDAC patients live for at least five years after their diagnosis.

Researchers used microfluidic cartridges to build a lipid-based nanocarrier into which a PDAC "prodrug" could be loaded. A prodrug is a pharmacologically inactive compound that the body metabolizes into an active drug. In this research the liposome, as lipid-based drug delivery platforms are known, was loaded with the prodrug vinblastine-N-oxide. When activated by hypoxia, vinblastine-N-oxide, often referred to as CPD100, converts to the drug vinblastine, a microtubule inhibitor used to kill cancer cells.

In this study, the scientists found that liposomal CPD100 outperformed regular CPD100 in cancer cell cultures. The researchers also did testing in an animal model in which mice with pancreatic cancer were divided into six treatment groups, with mice receiving either regular CPD100; liposomal CPD100; vinblastine; gemcitabine, or GEM, a standard-of-care drug for PDAC patients; liposomal CPD100 plus GEM; or no treatment.

The tumor in mice treated with liposomal CPD100 and liposomal CPD100 plus GEM showed a statistically significant decrease in weight compared to the untreated mice, the GEM-only animals and the vinblastine mice.