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UCSF begins clinical trial of Halozyme’s PEGPH20 to treat pancreatic cancer patients

The Pancreas Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) has started a Phase II clinical research trial of Halozyme Therapeutics' investigational new drug, PEGPH20 (PEGylated recombinant human hyaluronidase), to treat pancreatic cancer patients who are candidates for potentially curative surgery.

To be conducted within the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Phase II trial will investigate PEGPH20 in combination with gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel (ABRAXANE) in patients with borderline resectable Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC).

The trial will also track the progress of up to 36 patients through chemotherapy and surgical treatment.

PEGPH20 targets the degradation of hyaluronan (HA) to increase the access of co-administered chemotherapeutic and immunotherapeutic agents.

HA is a chain of natural sugars that can accumulate around cancer cells, inhibiting other therapies

UCSF Pancreas Center director Margaret Tempero said: "This is a unique study to determine if PEGPH20, when administered in combination with other cancer-fighting drugs, will better prepare patients for surgery.

"We will observe outcomes of our patients to learn if this combination therapy with PEGPH20 could make a difference in potentially curative surgery."

The company noted that the interim results of the randomized Phase II Study 202 clinical study of PEGPH20 with Abraxane and gemcitabine has showed a doubling of progression-free survival (PFS) and an improvement trend in overall survival in high HA metastatic pancreatic cancer patients.

Additionally, the potential risk profile, including the rate of thromboembolic events, was also presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting this year.