Implantable drug-eluting device: localised drug delivery for non-resectable pancreatic cancer
Institution: University of Wollongong
Chief Investigator: Dr Kara Perrow
Cancer type: Pancreatic
This project is investigating a novel drug delivery system that is capable of locally delivering two chemotherapeutic drugs directly to the site of the tumour with the overall goal of reducing tumour size so that patients can undergo life-saving surgery.
Locally advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a median overall survival of 9-13 months due to a lack of response to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and the non-resectable nature of the disease. While surgical removal of the tumour remains the only curative option, >80% of patients present with inoperable disease, and there has been little improvement in the prognosis of PDAC cases in the past three decades, highlighting the crucial need for more effective therapeutic approaches.
Clinical trial results indicate that the chemotherapeutic drugs GEMZAR (gemcitabine) and Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) act synergistically to moderately extend the life of PDAC patients however, systemic toxicity is still problematic.
Drug delivery depots that achieve high therapeutic concentrations of chemotherapy at the tumour site represent a promising treatment approach. However, all have used invasive surgical procedures for implantation to date and few have been approved for clinical use.
This multidisciplinary project will develop a degradable dual-drug eluting polymeric structure that is suitable for intralesional implantation using an innovative and non-invasive endoscopic procedure, endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle injection (EUS-FNI).
The research team is at the forefront of polymeric scaffold development for tissue engineering and implantable drug delivery applications. To ensure rapid translation of the research findings to patients the group:
- Has created a novel drug delivery platform from all FDA-approved materials,
- Will assess safety and efficacy in clinically relevant PDAC mouse models and
- Assess therapeutic drug concentrations in a porcine EUS-FNI model.
It is hypothesized that the novel drug delivery system, capable of delivering a combination of gemcitabine and paclitaxel, will achieve tumour control and convert non-resectable pancreatic cancer cases to resectable cases. Since surgical resection remains the only potential curative therapy for PDAC, the researchers expect that with further development, the technology will make significant contributions to the overall survival of PDAC patients in the future.
This trial is supported jointly by Pancare and Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS).
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Research progress and outcomes:
> Implantable drug-eluting device: localised drug delivery for non-resectable pancreatic cancer
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