How to switch off pancreatic cancer

A study published in Nature has discovered that a specific gene is switched off in pancreatic cancer cells giving hope for a new form of treatment for this deadly disease. The gene, known as USP9x, acts in the body to stop cells from dividing uncontrollably but is switched off in cancerous cells in people with pancreatic cancer; it is thought that up to 15% of diagnoses could be due to this one gene being turned off.

Cancer Research UK now thinks that aggressive cancer of the pancreas can be treatable, despite the disease currently having a poor prognosis. Professor David Tuveson from Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute stated that “Drugs which strip away the [DNA] tags are already showing promise in lung cancer and this study suggests they could also be effective [in the treatment of pancreatic cancer].”

Around 8000 people are diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas every year in the UK and it is the fifth most common cause of death from cancer thanks to its difficulty at being successfully treated. If you would like further information on the symptoms of pancreatic cancer and its treatment see “Pancreatic cancer: Can it be cured?” an excellent plain English article by Consultant Liver Surgeon, Mr Giuseppe Kito Fusai.

If you are looking for treatment of pancreatic cancer see our list of doctors specialising in this disease.

Abnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
Malignant, a tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of all living organisms. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
The building blocks of the genes in almost all living organisms - spelt out in full as deoxyribonucleic acid. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
A gland behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes and the hormones insulin and glucagon, which together regulate glucose levels in the blood. Full medical glossary
A glandular organ that secretes digestive enzymes and hormones. Full medical glossary
Relating to the pancreas. Full medical glossary
An assessment of the likely progress of a condition. Full medical glossary