Promising trial in pancreatic cancer enrols first patient
BRUSSELS - The first patient entered the STEREOPAC trial, in Pôle Hospitalier Jolimont, Belgium. The trial is testing a novel strategy in the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer. The Anticancer Fund and the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research co-funded this unique trial because people with pancreatic cancer lack treatment options.
STEREOPAC is a phase 2 study that investigates a novel strategy in the treatment of patients with a specific type of pancreatic cancer: borderline resectable pancreatic adenocarcinoma. This is a very aggressive cancer with a poor prognosis. A total of 256 patients will be included in over 10 Belgian hospitals.
Why this trial is important
Today, surgery is the only treatment offering a chance for cure for patients that have a pancreatic tumour. However, less than 20% of the patients have a tumour that can be removed by surgery, so called "resectable”, and about 50% have a cancer that can possibly be removed by surgery, called borderline resectable. But even when surgery is possible, only 20% of patients with pancreatic cancer are still alive 5 years after treatment, calling for improvements in the type and modalities of interventions on this cancer.
New research has shown that a combination of chemo- and radiotherapy before surgery can have positive results in patients with borderline resectable disease. In line with this, the STEREOPAC trial investigates this new way of combining treatment in patients with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer: standard chemotherapy and high dose radiation therapy before surgery. Specifically, the study aims to improve the chances of success of the surgery and lengthen the time the patients survive without any signs or symptoms of the disease.
This study is the only one in Europe using this approach, while in other parts of the world different kinds of radiotherapy and other cancer types are being examined.
“Pancreatic cancer patients deserve as many chances as patients with more common, and often less aggressive cancers. Hence financial support for those researchers who have a good chance to improve pancreatic cancer patients’ outcomes, is a must. This collaboration top-notch project can change clinical practice”, said Ilse Rooman, director of the pancreatic programme at the Anticancer Fund.
The leading investigator of the trial is Prof. Dr. Jean-Luc Van Laethem, Hôpital Erasme – ULB, Brussels, Belgium.
The funding of this trial is a collaborative effort
To fund this trial, the Anticancer Fund joined forces with the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, and receives support by the Funds Anhaive, A.B., Drieghe-Miller and MaaikeLarsTrees, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) in Belgium.
The King Baudouin Foundation (KBF) manages a portfolio of over a hundred health research-oriented Funds. Oncology research is an important component within that portfolio. KBF is rather a small actor in this field but evolved towards a position of trusted convener, a forum for stakeholder’s dialogue and actor of change. KBF wants to explore further this rather privileged position and take on such a connecting role to spur and support strategic collaborations. The ambition of KBF is to support strategically chosen endeavours with the intention to put patient value at the centre of cancer research. Together with all actors involved in cancer research and with the patients and caregivers, KBF supports transdisciplinary research on patient value contributing towards a new cancer research culture.
The STEREOPAC-study in pancreatic cancer is also supported by a generous donation of Bart and Ann Verhaeghe.
This trial is the result of a call for projects
The trial was selected out of many projects we have received for the Request for Applications in Pancreatic and Biliary tract Cancer, organised by the Anticancer Fund and the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research in 2022.
“This project is the result of a strong collaboration, and a great example for 2 like-minded organisations joining forces to achieve more”, said Wendelin Zellmayer, Rising Tide’s CEO.
The Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research
The Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research (RTFCCR) is a charitable, non-profit organisation established in 2010 and located in Schaffhausen Switzerland. RTFCCR’s primary consideration in granting support is given to truly innovative, unique, patient-centred clinical research. The long-term ambition of the foundation is to optimise partnerships and attract the best in Phase I to Phase III clinical trials that aim to bring maximum patient benefit in the shortest time possible. With patients at the core of the mission, the foundation strives to support clinical trials resulting in the creation of less toxic therapeutic approaches, better disease burden management, earlier cancer detection, and innovative prevention strategies that will lead to increased quality of life and survival.