Pancreatic cancer is increasing its presence in today’s world with thousands of cases being confirmed every day.
It has turned out to be one of the most afflicting cancers and also one of the worst manifesting types.
As of today it is considered incurable as even with treatment the survival rate for five years is less than 4%. It has no effective radiation or chemotherapy options.
By the time pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it is normally too late and a mere 15%-20% of the patients have a surgical option open to them. Pancreatic cancer takes the fourth position on highest frequency cancers.
It does not favor either of the sexes, but incidents are higher among those who are above 45, the afro-Americans and the chances are tripled for smokers.
Pancreatic cancer is accompanied with symptoms like yellow tinge to the skin and eyes, jaundice, abdominal or back pain, loss of appetite and weight, diabetes and digestive problems.
Currently the CA 19-9 antigen test is used to diagnose pancreatic cancer and also to keep tabs on its progress. It is a biomarker normally associated with tumors. Its raised levels in the plasma are indicators of cancer in the pancreatic-bladder system which includes the pancreas, bladder tract and the gall bladder.
The patient is required to give a blood sample which is then tested, in laboratories, for the levels of the CA19-9 antigen. Known pancreatic cancer patients are subjected to regular tests to monitor their reaction to therapies or radiation.
Since CA19-9 is a bio marker, researches have been trying to look for a gene therapy to be able to handle pancreatic cancer. The researchers are studying the evolution of the bio-marker to be able to develop a possible gene therapy to help treat and cure pancreatic cancer in its preliminary stages.
The scientists are still trying to pin down the cause of pancreatic cancer. They are looking at possible tests that might be able to diagnose pancreatic cancer in earlier stages to ensure a higher survival rate.
A possible gene therapy has been developed and is running in its trial phase. It is showing promising results. According to Science Daily a gene delivered under the name of cytokine is being used to tackle pancreatic cancer.
It has also been found that a 3D MRI may be able to detect pancreatic cancer in its early stages, thus giving enough time to be able to treat the patient with some success.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal forms of cancer. The evolution of a possible gene therapy would be considered a miracle to the patients and their families.