One of the doctors behind the Sandler-Kenner Foundation discusses the benefits the breakthrough could deliver.
Irving, TX, July 22, 2015 – Of all the many forms of cancer, pancreatic cancer has one of the bleakest outlooks. An estimated 44,000 Americans are diagnosed each year with this disease and most will not survive to see the five-year mark. One of the biggest reasons for the especially low survival rate is the absence of a simple tool for early detection of this disease. Researchers, however, believe a breakthrough on this front may soon be on the way.
“Courtesy of aggressive research into pancreatic cancer, its causes and potential treatments, researchers have isolated a protein in the blood that may one day soon serve as an early warning sign for the disease,” says Dr. Gregory Echt, one of the physicians behind the Sandler-Kenner Foundation and the founder and lead surgeon at Choice Cancer Care. “This is a tremendously significant finding that may enable not only early detection, but lifesaving early treatment.”
Dr. Echt is referring to research that has isolated a protein known as GPC1 that is released by pancreatic tumors into the blood. In a small-scale study, it was determined that all patients with pancreatic cancer secreted rather high amounts of this protein into their blood. Researchers also found that noncancerous cells did not release this potential disease marker. The hope is to develop these findings into a blood or urine test that may enable doctors to more easily screen for to tumors having a chance to spread.
“While it’s true much work needs to be done to make this finding viable for early testing, this is tremendous news that may one day pave the way for better treatments and greater survival,” Dr. Echt says.
In the meantime, people who are at high risk for pancreatic cancer are urged to discuss the topic with their physicians. Early detection is problematic, but some early screening procedures are available for high risk patients.