What are the emerging therapies that will impact our practice in the near future?

FAQ Library published on March 21, 2014 in Assess & Monitor
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Margaret A. Tempero, MD
Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Division of Hematology and Oncology
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
San Francisco, California

What are the emerging therapies that will impact our practice in the near future?
I am Dr. Margaret Tempero, director of the Pancreas Center at the University of California, San Francisco. I am often asked what is on the horizon? What are the emerging therapies that will impact our practice in the near future? That is not an easy question to answer and there are many exciting strategies that are being pursued, but I want to comment on just two of them. The driving oncogene for this disease is activated RAS, and to date we have not had a good way to drug RAS. It is a difficult entity to drug from a chemical point of view. However, the director of the National Cancer Institute has just put together a team of highly talented individuals from around the globe to actually address this issue, and if they can address it, I think that will emerge as a very strong therapy, not only for patients with pancreatic cancer, but for patients with many other diseases in which activated RAS is also a contributor. The other area that I think will impact our practice in the future is that of the tumor microenvironment. We are only beginning to understand how important the microenvironment is in promoting invasion and metastasis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. The microenvironment is complex, it includes part of the immune system, and it includes other cells that support and maintain the malignancy. Some of the immune-based strategies that are in development right now are moving along very quickly, and hopefully these will become part of our tools for the future.
Last modified: August 23, 2013
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