Vaccine to Treat Chemo-resistant Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect and is often advanced by the time it is diagnosed, with devastating outcomes for patients.

ECU ResearchersThis is particularly true in Eastern North Carolina due to demographic and health care risk factors. Currently only 20 percent of patients whose tumors are successfully removed survive long-term, even with chemotherapy. Immunological therapy shows promise, even in some cancers that do not respond to chemotherapy.

Researchers Emmanuel E. Zervos, MD, a professor of surgery, and Rachel R. Roper, PhD, an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at East Carolina University, are trying to introduce a gene the pair discovered into a common pox virus and use the virus to create a vaccine to treat chemo-resistant pancreatic cancers in mice. If this study is successful, it will open the door to treat this deadly cancer in humans.

This study is funded in part through one of 12 UCRF Innovation grants awarded  in the December 2008 funding cycle.