ATLANTA — Pancreatic cancer is one of the hardest cancers to treat with just a 10% survival rate after five years.
In the last year, the deaths of figures like Georgia Congressman John Lewis, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek have shed light on awareness for the disease.
Now, Georgia State University researchers are optimistic about their early findings on a drug developed to treat pancreatic cancer.
Channel 2′s Carol Sbarge spoke with researchers at Georgia State to learn more about their findings.
“I think it’s incredibly exciting. Honestly the more clinical trials that happen the more hope there is for patients,” cancer patient Elise Roth Tedeschi said.
[DOWNLOAD: Free WSB-TV News app for alerts as news breaks]
Tedeschi was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer four years ago. She believes one of the few drugs available then for that cancer helped saved her life. She’s excited about more being developed.
“I do believe there’s a whole lot of hope out there than ever before,” Tedeschi said.
GSU professor Zhi-Ren Liu and his team developed a drug that studies show is effective in treating pancreatic cancer and lengthening survival in mice.
The researchers say it breaks down a barrier that makes it hard for cancer drugs to get to the pancreatic cancer cells.
“I keep telling everyone this probably starts a chance to excel the possible survival for this type of cancer,” Liu said.
Researchers hope clinical trials on people can begin in the spring. The first phase is testing what they call the “tolerability” on people, which includes the amount to be used.
The team is waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration before the trials can start.
[SIGN UP: WSB-TV Daily Headlines Newsletter]