A new pilot study will investigate whether treating pancreatic cancer patients with immunotherapy before surgery could result in better responses to treatment and in turn better survival outcomes.
The innovative Neo-IMPACT study which is testing something never studied before, is led by Dr Lorraine Chantrill, a Director of the GI Cancer Institute and the Head of Medical Oncology at Illawarra Cancer Care Centre, Wollongong Hospital.
“This trial will bring immunotherapy to the very beginning of treatment, to activate the immune system before any cancer cells are released from the pancreas gland into the blood stream. We think that use of chemotherapy prior to surgery in combination with immunotherapy has the potential to reduce the risk of recurrence, by influencing the person’s gut bacteria,” says Dr Chantrill.
The study will also investigate the microbiome, through the Microbiome Research Centre at St George Hospital.
This will expand the emerging research that has identified how the altered microbiome is a promoting factor in the development of cancer, and how it contributes to resistance pathways to chemotherapy and the lack of impact of immunotherapy.
The GI Cancer Institute is currently seeking community and philanthropic funding with a hope to initiate this pilot trial in 2020. This pilot study will enrol 20 patients from two sites in NSW. We hope to improve the cure rate for pancreas cancer and discover how the immune system responds to this disease.
Watch Dr Chantrill speak about Neo-IMPACT: