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Polaris Group's drug to help treat pancreatic cancer

Polaris Group announced Monday that ADI-PEG 20, arginine deiminase formulated with polyethylene glycol, acts as a radiosensitizer of pancreatic cancer both in tissue culture and in mice with human pancreatic cancer.

These results were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium in San Francisco. The study was performed in conjunction with collaborators at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

San Diego-based Polaris Group is conducting clinical trials on ADI-PEG 20 for the treatment of multiple indications, including metastatic melanoma, prostate cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The latter indication is already in a global Phase 3 study.

"Pancreatic cancer is the third most common gastrointestinal cancer and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the USA," said Dr. John Bomalaski, executive vice president of medical affairs at Polaris Group. "Approximately 40 percent of these patients have locally advanced pancreatic cancer, which is usually treated with a combination of radiation and chemotherapy.

"However, pancreatic cancer tends to become radio-resistant to currently available radiosensitizers. These results suggest that ADI-PEG 20 either alone or in combination with another radiosensitizer may potentially be of benefit in treating locally advanced pancreatic cancer. ADI-PEG 20 has a novel mechanism of action and well documented tolerability that we believe makes ADI-PEG 20 an ideal candidate both as monotherapy and in combination with other agents, including cytotoxics."

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