Image from Precision Promise page of Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Researchers at UC San Diego Health’s Moores Cancer Center will be among just a few clinical trial sites in the U.S. for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network‘s newly created Precision Promise — the first large-scale precision medicine trial designed to transform outcomes for patients with pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is among the world’s toughest cancers, with a five-year survival rate of just 10%. Effective treatments for pancreatic cancer are limited and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s guidelines point to clinical trials as the best option for treatment.

“This clinical trial is different than standard clinical trials in that it has an adaptive design, meaning if a drug is not working, it can be pulled from the trial and another treatment can take its place,” said Dr. Aaron Miller, medical oncologist and principal investigator of the trial at Moores Cancer Center. “And if a drug is working, it can move more quickly through the trial and to the FDA for potential approval.”

Moores Cancer Center will be one of 15 U.S. sites conducting the novel study.

Each patient enrolled in the trial undergoes advanced molecular profiling and receives supportive care during their treatment. Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who have not yet had treatment, or who have received only first-line treatment, may be eligible to enroll in PanCAN’s Precision Promise.

“Precision Promise is a clinical trial that will provide patients with access to therapies rooted in science,” said Dr. Andrew Lowy, chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at Moores Cancer Center. “Every possible patient with pancreatic cancer should be enrolled in a clinical trial because standard treatments are not enough.

“Precision Promise will offer options for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer including those who are untreated and those who have received prior therapies,” Lowy continued.

The trial investigates multiple treatment options, called sub-studies, under one clinical trial design. Patients have the option to receive both first and second line treatment within this trial, allowing patients that enter Precision Promise in first line to quickly shift to a second-line therapy within the same trial if needed.

The network of trial sites allows researchers at all of them to evaluate the success of all patients as they progress through treatment. Tissue samples will be collected on each patient which may help researchers better understand why some patients respond better to specific treatments and not others.

“In some trials, when the results are not what we expected from our initial hypothesis, there are no samples to inform research on why it was unsuccessful,” Lowy said.

“In order to improve upon therapies, we must understand what is happening in each patient. Precision Promise offers a collaborative network in which researchers can help each other answer these questions leading to better, faster FDA approval of new therapies in the clinic.”

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