Fifty-six thousand Americans are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer every year.
It’s a cancer that has been historically tough to treat. Now there’s a new treatment when surgery is not an option.
Seventy-year old Darlene Bossola had been intentionally losing weight last year to fight diabetes, but then the mother of three and grandmother of seven became jaundiced.
Doctors diagnosed Darlene with inoperable stage three pancreatic cancer.
Darlene Bossola said, “So of course, you want to do something that’s going to help you, along with your family, then eventually help others.”
Darlene chose to be part of a clinical trial testing a new way of delivering chemotherapy directly to pancreatic tumors.
Every other week for eight weeks, Darlene was wheeled into an operating room at UPMC in Pittsburgh. Doctors treat the tumor using a double-balloon catheter called Renovocath.
Radiologists thread it through the groin into the vessels near the pancreas. They inflate the balloons then deliver chemo.
Paula Novelli, MD, FSIR, Associate Professor of Radiology, Division of Interventional Radiologist, UPMC said, “We’re actually forcing the chemotherapy into the tumor, as opposed to spraying it on the outside, like we would with the liver.”
So far, the trial has shown to extend the lives of some pancreatic patients significantly.
Doctor Novelli said, “This is huge. We have a patient who is three years out. Our longest survival at this point.”
Darlene Bossola said, “All my levels are down, I feel great. It needs to be offered to everyone.”
For Darlene, married 48 years to her high school sweetheart, Terry, it’s precious time with the people who mean the most.”
The trial for the renovocath is called Tiger-Pac.
Researchers are enrolling 300 patients at 30 sites in the U.S.
So far, the trial has shown to extend the lives of pancreatic patients from 14 months to 26 months.