Gemcitabine is the standard chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer, but despite this treatment, many patients do not survive the disease. The purpose of this study is to find the highest dose of an investigational drug called OMP-59R5 that can be given safely with gemcitabine in patients with pancreatic cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other parts of the body and has not yet been treated.
OMP-59R5 works by targeting cancer stem cells. These stem cells grow more slowly than regular cancer cells and evade the effects of conventional chemotherapy, which targets fast-growing cells such as cancer cells. As a result, cancer stem cells can later develop into regular cancer cells, and cause a recurrence of the disease after therapy. It is hoped that giving OMP-59R5 with gemcitabine will be more effective than gemcitabine alone for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.
OMP-59R5 and gemcitabine are both given intravenously (by vein).