A new Penn Medicine study found a treatment that shrinks pancreatic tumors in most patients in an early phase clinical trial.

Researchers of the Abramson Cancer Center conducted a clinical trial where patients with untreated pancreatic cancer received standard chemotherapy treatments and an experimental antibody targeting CD40 proteins.The clinical trial saw pancreatic tumors shrink in 83% of patients, Penn Medicine News reported.

Pancreatic cancer is the third deadliest form of cancer for Americans behind lung and colorectal cancers. About 1 in 64 Americans will get pancreatic cancer at some point during their lives, and there is only a seven percent survival rate after five years of diagnosis for all stages of pancreatic cancer combined.

In the Penn Med study, patients received an experimental antibody called APX005M that was designed to block the immune system suppression that takes place in cancers. Half of the patients also received an inhibitor to boost their immune system and complement the antibody’s effects. Previous research indicates that inhibitors alone are not effective against pancreatic cancer, Penn Medicine News reported.

The treatment caused pancreatic tumors to shrink in twenty out of twenty-four patients. The highest response rates were seen among patients who received the inhibitor in addition to the antibody. Most patients reported manageable side effects and many continued the treatment for over a year.

Read more at DP