A cancer research charity founded by the late Dame Olivia Newton-John announced they have discovered a possible new treatment for pancreatic cancer.
Professor Matthias Ernst, the director of the Melbourne-based ONJ Cancer Research Institute, headed a study that was published in the Cell Reports scientific journal on Wednesday.
Noting that the study was in its early stages and has not yet undergone human trials, he pointed out that his researchers will be able to move quickly to human trials when ready, asserting, “Because we work in the same building as our oncologist colleagues at Austin Health, our discoveries in the laboratory can be quickly translated into patient trials.”
The study began by saying, “Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive disease with a low 5-year survival rate and is associated with poor response to therapy.”
In PDAC, the formation of blood cellular components speeding up chemical reactions in the body specific to bone marrow is elevated, reducing the survival rate of patients. But by introducing an immune-stimulatory endotype in the bone marrow cells, the process then reduced the formation of excessive connective tissue around invasive carcinoma that were infiltrating cells.
This, in turn, reduced metastasis, aided the effect of chemotherapy, and made it easier for anti-PD1, anti-CTLA4, or stimulatory anti-CD40 immunotherapy to work.
Years after her diagnosis with breast cancer, Newton-John wrote, “In 1992, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The diagnosis came the same weekend my father died of cancer, so you can imagine the shock. I learned very quickly how important it was for me to think positively. When the second friend I called with the news burst into tears, I thought — this too stressful. I had to find someone else to handle the day to day discussions of my health so I could concentrate on healing.”
“I underwent a partial mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction,” she continued. “I did herbal formulas, meditation and focused on a vision of complete wellness. I also believe that when you go through something difficult, even something as dramatic as cancer, that something positive will come of it.”
These experiences inspired her to form the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Centre) to help fight cancer.
Newton-John died on August 8 at the age of 73.