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A chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine is generally used for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. However, if a medication namely MRK003 is used in combination with gemcitabine, the ability of the latter to destroy tumors is boosted, claims a team at Cancer Research UK.

The researchers demonstrated the effect of this drug on a set of mice. As per the observations, the experimental drug MRK003 apparently impeded the Notch, which is regarded as a vital signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer cells as well as endothelial cells. The MRK003 medication is regarded as a gamma secretase inhibitor.

Research author, Professor David Tuveson, group leader at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Research Institute, quoted, “This research is a real example of how research taking place in the lab directly influences decisions made in the clinic to improve treatment for patients.“We’ve discovered why these two drugs together set off a domino effect of molecular activity to switch off cell survival processes and destroy pancreatic cancer cells.”

According to the scientists, this combination of MRK003 and the commonly used drug gemcitabine may accelerate the capacity of the latter to kill pancreatic cancer cells. Basically, the net result of tumor destruction could be attributed to the enhanced individual effect of each of the medicines.

The research is published in the February 20 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.