MSK is a major research institution. During your treatment for pancreatic cancer, your care team may ask if you want to join a clinical trial.
What is a clinical trial?
Clinical trials are research studies that test new treatments, procedures, or devices to see how well they work. They are an important part of helping to prevent, treat, and cure cancer. Almost every cancer treatment given to patients was first tested during a clinical trial.
MSK tests new treatments for pancreatic cancer. Treatment trials test new drugs, drug combinations, devices, and ways of doing procedures, surgery, or radiation therapy.
Sometimes a clinical trial gives you access to new therapies that are not yet available at most hospitals. Talk with your doctor about whether joining a clinical trial is right for you.
Clinical trials are designed to answer questions about:
- Side effects
- Whether some people are helped more than others
MSK will start a clinical trial only if our researchers think we can improve methods for cancer:
For more information, please read Clinical Trials at MSK: What You Need to Know
We’re researching using new immunotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer after surgery, and for metastatic pancreatic cancer. Our clinical trials are showing promise for using immunotherapy to treat advanced pancreatic cancer.
One trial explores using 2 drugs to boost the immune system as an alternative to chemotherapy. Another trial explores immunotherapy for pancreatic tumors that were removed by surgery and have mutations in the KRAS or NRAS genes.
Here are other ways MSK is exploring new treatments for pancreatic cancer:
- An MSK clinical trial is testing a vaccine using messenger RNA along with another type of immunotherapy. We’re one of a few hospitals testing this treatment for pancreatic cancer.
- Biomarkers are measurable materials, such as proteins and genes. We’re exploring biomarkers that help us tell the difference between benign (not cancer) and precancerous lesions in the pancreas. We’re also evaluating whether biomarkers can tell us which treatment is best. For example, a biomarker may tell us which type of chemotherapy is best for you.
- We’re testing whether we can use pancreatic cancer stem cells to predict which chemotherapy treatments will be best for you.
- For localized tumors we may be able to operate on, we’re evaluating a new order for treatments. For example, we’re looking at a total neoadjuvant therapy (TNT) approach.
- We’re working on targeted therapies, including using a class of drugs called PARP inhibitors. They’re for people at higher genetic risk for pancreatic cancer.
- We’re evaluating a new targeted therapy, zolbetuximab. It’s for people who have a substance called claudin 18.2 on the surface of their tumor cells.
- We’re evaluating new treatments for pancreatic cancers related to BRCA1/2 and PALB2 genes.
- We’re evaluating new maintenance treatments for pancreatic cancer. Maintenance therapy can help after cancer symptoms respond to therapy.
- Through our Pancreatic Tumor Registry, we study environmental and inherited risk factors for pancreatic cancer. Many people who join this study are living with pancreatic cancer or have family members who had it.
Our experts can talk with you about which clinical trial is right for you. Here are some of our new clinical trials:
- 20-481 A Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab Immunotherapy and OLApaRib (POLAR) Maintenance Therapy for Patients with Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
- 22 352 A Phase 1 Study of ELI-002 7P Immunotherapy in People with Digestive Cancers
- 16 261 A Phase I Study of MVT-5873 Alone or with Chemotherapy in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer and Other CA19-9 Positive Tumors
- 23 011 A Phase 1b Study of Odetiglucan with CDX-1140 Immunotherapy to Treat Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer
- 22 310 A Phase I Study of ASP3082 in People with Solid Tumors with KRAS G12D Mutations
You can see a current listing of MSK’s clinical trials for pancreatic cancer below.