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Pancreatic cancer: Chinese tree compound helps destroy tumors

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By Ana Sandoiu (Medical News Today) :-A new study, published in the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, finds that a synthetic analog of a compound found in a rare Chinese tree can be used to tackle treatment-resistant pancreatic cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) report that around 55,440 people will develop pancreatic cancer in 2018 and around 44,330 people will die as a result.

This cancer is particularly difficult to both treat and diagnose.

A lack of specific and accessible screening methods means that specialists often find the disease in its later stages, which can impact the patients’ outlook.

The ACS estimate that 12–14 percent of people with early-stage pancreatic cancer go on to survive for 5 years.

New research offers much-needed hope; scientists have found that a derivative of camptothecin — which is a Chinese tree bark compound whose anticancer properties were discovered over half a century ago — can effectively kill pancreatic cancer tumors.

Fengzhi Li, Ph.D., who is an associate professor of oncology in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY, is the senior author of the new research. (Medical News Today)