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Breakthrough! Israel’s Pancreatic Cancer Trial

Pancreatic Cancer Israel. What’s new on those hot topics? With pancreatic cancer being the fourth leading cause of cancer death, and the 12th most common cancer across the world, it is welcome news that a new drug has gone to phase 3 trial.

Unfortunately, the disease is difficult to diagnose. Due to this, and the aggression of the disease, the first-year survival rate is only 9%. Pancreatic cancer is often found once it has already reached an advanced stage. Over 1,200 people worldwide receive a pancreatic cancer diagnosis each day.

That’s why researchers are remaining hopeful about the new drug called CPI-613. The phase 3 style has begun across Israel in 8 different hospitals.

sick cancer old man and family


Pancreatic cancer is mostly diagnosed in people aged between 60 and 80. People with diabetes are more at risk, as are people with the BRCA mutations. It is also said that people who smoke or abuse alcohol increase their risk of developing the disease. Having a family member suffer from the disease is not said to increase a relative’s risk.

Often, the disease has no symptoms, or the symptoms are vague. The most common symptoms mild pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen. It can be less painful when sitting. Losing weight and loss of appetite are also symptoms of pancreatic cancer. Some of the symptoms are also similar to those experienced with hepatitis B, such as dark urine, yellowing of the skin and itchy skin. Patients may also feel bloated after meals.

For those who receive a diagnosis after the cancer has spread, the five-year survival rate is 3%.

couple woman with cancer

New study offers hope

CPI-613 is a PARP inhibitor. This means that it belongs to a group of drug which inhibits the enzyme. The drug is highly selective on the target level in cancer cells. This ultimately means less toxicity to healthy cells. It also means that it can be used for an extended period of time and in combination with other drugs.

So how will the trial work? 250 people will receive CPI-613 and chemotherapy. Another group of 250 people will just receive the chemotherapy. Israeli researchers are hoping that by late 2020 the results will be enough to allow for FDA approval. Otherwise, they are looking at bringing the drug to the market by late 2021.

Results so far have shown that those who received the drug went 7.4 months before the disease worsened. Whereas those who received the placebo only went 3.8 months. Researchers are hopeful about this data and what it can mean.

Click here to read about Five Recent Israeli Breakthroughs In Cancer Research

In Israel and around the World

Just like all over the world, there has been an increase in the instances of pancreatic cancer in Israel. There were 888 patients diagnosed in 2013. In 2018 it reached 1,024 and it is expected to rise to 1,086 by 2020. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in Israel.

It is of course also a major concern in the US. Scientists estimate that by 2030, pancreatic cancer will be the second leading cause of cancer death.


Hopefully the results of this trial will show positive results that will help attain the necessary FDA approval. The drug offers hope for patients worldwide. And with continuing cancer research in Israel and around the world, we can remain hopeful that treatments will improve our quality of life.

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2 Responses

  1. Is this trial only available in Israel? My 91 year old mother has been recently diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer and because of her age they feel she is neither a candidate for surgery or chemo. It seems wrong to just sit idly by and do nothing, especially if there is a treatment that might help her. Before this occurred she was a vibrant healthy woman, in fact probably in better health than me at 65.

    1. Wow Bernard, that is a difficult situation. From what I know, the hospitals that were doing this trial are: Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center, Soroka Medical Center, Sheba Medical Center, Rambam Health Care Campus, Laniado Hospital, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Shaare Zedek Medical Center. Maybe try calling them? The number for Shaare Zedek Medical Center, which I have dealt with many times and have been greatly impressed by, is 972-2-6666666. They usually have English speaking people on staff, and most Doctors have a perfect English.
      I hope this is helpful. Best of luck! And feel free to be in touch with us if there is anything we can do.

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