HomeMedia CentrePersonalised medicine offers new hope for pancreatic cancer patients
Personalised medicine offers new hope for pancreatic cancer patients
12 December 2018
The diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is widely regarded as a death sentence. A paper just published in the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Molecular Medicine suggests that a more personalised approach taking into account an individual’s genetic background might offer more hope for those who develop pancreatic cancer in the future.
Among the obstacles to progress in treatment outcomes has been an alarming rise in resistance to chemotherapy drugs and radiotherapy and insufficient progress in the early detection of the disease.
A paper just published in the peer-reviewed journal Integrative Molecular Medicine suggests that a more personalised approach taking into account an individual’s genetic background might offer more hope for those who develop pancreatic cancer in the future. The near exhaustive review article, which evaluates the multitude of genetic and environmental factors that influence pancreatic cancer, including a diverse range of emerging treatment options, is the result of a two-year collaboration between the Neuroscience Solutions to Cancer Research Group at Imperial College London and a non-profit active in the field of healthcare sustainability, the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) International.
Lead author, cancer biologist Peyda Korhan, has been on something of personal quest with her research. She lost her grandfather to pancreatic cancer in 2003 and five years later her father to brain cancer. Additionally, the work has been supported by the Jon Lord Fellowship, established in 2012 after the passing of Jon Lord, founder of rock band Deep Purple, to pancreatic cancer.
Dr Korhan explains, “This project has had a huge impact on my life. Coming out of a conventional cancer biology research background, this fellowship has opened my eyes - not only to integrative medicine and its potential. It’s also been transformative at a personal level.
“While it could be said our genes load the gun, making us more, or less, vulnerable to particular cancers, it is our behaviour, environment and lifestyle choices that ultimately pull the trigger. Now that it’s possible to map our individual genomes, the potential for personalised strategies for both prevention and treatment are available to us today and we should make full use of this knowledge at the clinical coalface.
As a matter of urgency, we need standard care to adapt to an approach which takes into account personalised approaches informed by our underlying genetics and epigenetics.”
Co-author and ANH founder, Robert Verkerk, added, “This painstaking investigation of the most common form of pancreatic cancer through the lens of the complex interaction between our genome, environment and our metabolic, immunological and endocrine systems, shines a new light on the opportunities for personalised treatment approaches for pancreatic cancer patients".
The evidence suggests that those diagnosed at an earlier stage of the disease could have substantially improved outcomes.
Verkerk added, “It looks increasingly like there’s unlikely to ever be a magic bullet for this devastating disease. Emerging integrative approaches that may include surgery where appropriate while also tackling the cancer from a multitude of angles, so changing the pattern of gene expression within a given individual while also selectively targeting tumour cells, appear to hold most promise.”
The Jon Lord Fellowship has been supported by The Sunflower Jam, a UK charity that helps support research into, and the application of, holistic and integrative medicine treatments especially for children and young adults with cancer.
Commenting on behalf of her late husband, Vicky Lord said, “Jon would be immensely proud of the publication of this paper that we hope will go on to help people suffering from pancreatic cancer understand and learn about the integrative approach that he believed so helped him.”
The Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) International is an independent, non-governmental organisation established in 2002 that promotes and protects natural, sustainable and bio-compatible approaches to healthcare and disease prevention. Our approach is based on ‘good science’ and ‘good law’ and our core activities cover research, education and awareness-raising, campaigning and advocacy.
At the core of ANH’s mission is a recognition that healthcare can only become sustainable if we become more successful at preventing chronic, autoimmune, degenerative and mental health diseases. Central to this process is empowering the individual to make and control his or her healthcare choices, developing and deploying more personalised approaches to treatment and prevention, and, as far as possible, working with nature, rather than against it.
ANH-Intl was founded by Robert Verkerk PhD, an internationally acclaimed expert in agricultural, environmental and health sustainability. Our international office is based in Dorking, UK, while our US base (www.anh-usa.org) operates out of Atlanta, GA. We collaborate with a diverse cross-section of interests, including scientists, lawyers, medical doctors, other health professionals, politicians, companies and, above all, the public.
The Sunflower Jam is the brainchild of Jacky Paice, wife of Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice. Founded in 2006, Jacky was inspired to help those fighting cancer and other diseases after meeting a 16-year-old boy named Kevin.
Kevin had leukaemia and a friend of Jacky’s who headed the complementary therapy care team at the University College London called her and asked for a favour. Kevin needed a boost to pull him through and, as a Deep Purple fan, he asked Jacky if she would get Ian to sign something and send it to him. Not only did she organise that, but Jacky also called her brother-in-law Jon Lord and asked them both to deliver the signed merchandise.
Unfortunately, Kevin passed away two weeks after Jacky, Ian and Jon visited him in hospital but Jacky’s memory of that boy and the positive effect that their visit had on him never left her. After seeing all the good work that the complementary care team were doing on the oncology ward and how they were working alongside NHS doctors to provide a complete treatment programme for patients, Jacky knew she wanted to raise money to help support the amazing work they were already doing.
Since then, Jacky has organised high-profile, classic rock events which, after outgrowing their original venue, have now moved to the Royal Albert Hall and other iconic London venues. The Sunflower Jam also organises other fundraising activities throughout the country and actively remains committed to engaging and educating people in the discussion surrounding complementary and integrated treatments.
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