Kancera has in collaboration with scientists at the Karolinska Institute identified active compounds that effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells. Annually over 100 000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in Europe and the US. Ratio of survival, five years after diagnosis, is less than two percent.

Kancera has already reported that its ROR technology has generated active compounds that attack blood cancer cells in patients suffering from leukemia 25 times more selectively than the chemotherapy most commonly used to treat the disease today. During the summer 2011, Kancera started the development of candidate drugs that, beyond leukemia, attack ROR containing solid tumors. Now results are reported showing that the amount of activated ROR in aggressive cancer cells from pancreas is high and that active compounds against ROR effectively kill those cells already within 48 hours from start of the experimental treatment.

”The path towards a new treatment that effectively kills an incurable cancer is long and challenging and it requires comprehensive and systematic development. Success is far from certain, but as we now see the possibility of a breakthrough drug against a malevolent cancer, the company experiences a rush of adrenalin”, says Thomas Olin, CEO Kancera AB.

The effect of Kancera’s active compounds is surprisingly strong given the difficulty in treating pancreatic cancer. During the spring of 2012, we know whether Kancera’s active compounds kill pancreatic cancer cells in animal studies as effectively as in the experiments reported today. This could pave the way for a preparatory development for the clinic.” says Håkan Mellstedt, Professor at the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital and founder of Kancera.

About ROR
ROR consists of a family of proteins that gives cells signals for growth and survival, so-called receptors. Originally ROR were linked to fetus development, but now we know that they also play a role in the growth and spread of cancer cells. The ROR family consists of two receptors, ROR-1 and ROR-2. Due to the fact that ROR receptors mainly generate a survival and development signal in tumor cells, but are not active in healthy cells in adults, it is likely that a drug that targets ROR will attack a tumor much more forcefully than healthy tissue. Kancera’s founders and other scientists have also reported that blocking ROR results in certain cancer cells eliminating themselves through cellular suicide. Based on this, there is reason to assume that a ROR-targeted drug is both safer and more effective than the unselective types of chemotherapy used to treat cancer today.