This month a new website came online announcing the development of a new drug that might be used to treat both pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis.
The company, SunBiopharma, is based in Florida and was formed in 2011, but this month seems to mark its emergence from stealth mode. It is developing a drug called “Sun 101” that purports to achieve “a complete chemical resection of the [pancreas] without producing an inflammatory response.” In other words, the drug destroys the part of the pancreas responsible for exocrine function, along with cancerous tissue within the pancreas, through the accumulation of chemicals without destroying the endocrine function or causing inflammation from the trauma. If the part of the pancreas that is responsible for the degradation of chronic pancreatitis can be eliminated “while leaving the insulin-producing islet cells and non-pancreatic tissue unharmed,” this could mean that patients could have the benefit of a pancreatectomy without developing diabetes. (Enzyme replacement therapy would still be required.)
The website indicates that the company is beginning clinical trials in Australia this year to test efficacy for pancreatic cancer. It expects to demonstrate efficacy within four years — faster than the average duration of such trials. There is no mention of the development plan for chronic pancreatitis. Rest assured that I will find out more.
You can read the company’s statements on the potential for chronic pancreatitis here.