Trial Drug Attacks Pancreatic Cancer

An investigational drug that acts like a Trojan Horse to deliver cancer-killing agents for pancreatic cancer is being studied at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials, a partnership between Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute.


The Phase 2 clinical trial tests the effectiveness and safety of INNO-206 in patients with advanced pancreatic ductual adenocarcinomas (PDA) who have not responded to prior standard treatment. PDA is a malignant tumor arising from the duct cells within a gland in the pancreas. It represents about 80 percent of all pancreatic cancers.


Pancreatic cancer is extremely difficult to treat and the fourth most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with more than 43,000 new cases reported in 2010 and 37,000 deaths attributed to this disease each year. Tumors may grow in the pancreas without any early symptoms, which means the disease is often in an advanced stage when it is diagnosed.


“The drug’s effectiveness works like a Trojan Horse because it is prepared in albumin which pancreatic cancer likes to eat, thereby transporting the drug into the cancer cells and destroying them,” said Jasgit Sachdev, M.D., of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials.


Preclinical results showing the drug induced complete tumor remissions in the laboratory were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2012 Annual Meeting.


“We are encouraged by early study results and looking forward to the next step in evaluating the activity and safety of INNO-26 in patients with advanced pancreatic ductual adenocarcinomas,” said Dr. Ramesh Ramanathan, medical director of Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials and clinical professor and deputy director of the Clinical Translational Research Division at TGen.


A Los Angeles-based company, CytRx, holds the worldwide rights to INNO-206, which has been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.


The Phase 2 clinical trial will enroll up to 27 patients at multiple clinical sites in the U.S. The trial patients will be treated with intravenously administered INNO-206 once every three weeks for up to eight cycles. Trial patients will be evaluated for complete and partial tumor responses, side effects and overall survival.


Individuals seeking information about eligibility to participate in clinical trials at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare may contact the cancer care coordinator at 480-323-1339, toll free at 1-877-273-3713 or via email at


–  Submitted by Steve Yozwiak, TGen senior science writer

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