New research has emerged around a groundbreaking immunotherapy treatment for pancreatic cancer, and it may be able to help those struggling with the condition, including Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who was recently diagnosed with the fatal disease.
During a recent interview, Survivor Net revealed that Trebek noted his stage 4 pancreatic cancer has a certain mutation to it that could respond to the new treatment; that is, if the chemo can remove some of the cancer prior.
Immunotherapy medicine works by triggering the body’s immune system to battle the illness.
Trebek noted in the interview that he had his last chemotherapy treatment recently, and will soon go in for a PET scan so doctors can get a better indication of where his pancreatic cancer stands. He added that if some of the tumors have been rid of through chemo, he can start immunotherapy as his cancer falls under a certain mutation that will respond to this type of treatment.
While the studies have yet to be published, two research projects launched by the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy provide hope around drug combinations that can battle this condition, which can be quite difficult to treat at times. Early results indicate that from 24 patients within the initial study, 14 individuals saw tumors shrink, while two had the illness stabilized. When it came to the second study, a majority (17 of 19 patients) witnessed the tumors stop growing or shrink, while one saw zero evidence that the cancer still existed.
It may be too early to determine whether immunotherapy offers a widely effective treatment option for this illness; however, it does provide a lot of hope. In the study, immunotherapy seemed to work for extended periods of time as it relates to pancreatic cancer,
Regardless, Trebek is remaining positive throughout his pancreatic cancer experience. As he puts it, he has a choice to be pessimistic or optimistic, and he chooses the latter as it will help increase the chances of him beating this thing.
Unfortunately, Trebek’s illness is a challenge when it comes to diagnosis, as symptoms don’t pop up in the early stages, and signs can be quite vague. The condition also can be misdiagnosed at times, for irritable bowel syndrome, gallstones, as well as pancreatitis. Additionally, those with pancreatitis that don’t receive treatment early enough, and allow the condition to worsen, can also develop pancreatic cancer as well.
While treatment is difficult for pancreatic cancer patients, the good news is that Alex Trebek seems to be in good hands.