A recent announcement at the AACRs-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, held Oct. 19–23, points to some promising results in recent trials that targeted multiple pathways downstream of KRAS (including PI3K/AKT, RAF/MEK/ERK and RAL). The studies conducted by Barry Nelkin at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins involved pre-clinical trials of combinations of 3 different compounds in an animal model of pancreatic cancer.
These studies are interesting for three reasons:
- The model used involved implanting mice pancreases with human pancreatic tumor tissue, and letting it grow before treating it with the combination therapies. Unlike the traditional xenograph model where the tumor tissue is simply implanted on the back of a mouse, this approach promises to more closely model human pancreatic cancer.
- The targets for the drugs involved in the trials are downstream of KRAS, which has historically been a difficult target to address.
- These studies showed a dramatic reduction in tumor growth (>90%) with no human pancreatic tumor tissue detectable after treatment.
Thanks to Sally Church for pointing me to the research in her own blog post on the subject.