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We offer the latest and most promising treatments for pancreatic cancer, including biological therapies like immunotherapy and targeted therapy. Using a team-based approach, we help you receive these treatments quickly and effectively.
What is Biological Therapy?
Biologics are living organisms, or substances made from them, that help fight cancer. These therapies include immunotherapy and targeted therapy.
While some biologics have been approved by the FDA, many others are only available through participation in clinical trials. At UCLA, we’re able to offer many of these new, innovative therapies because of our status as a major medical institution.
Learn more about our extensive clinical trials.
Immunotherapy at UCLA
Immunotherapy treatments don’t directly target cancer cells. Instead, they work to stimulate the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Immunotherapy treatments for pancreatic cancer available at UCLA include:
- Checkpoint inhibitors/immune modulators: This promising therapy targets molecules that control the body’s immune response. Therapies may work to either block molecules that hold back the immune system or to unleash molecules that stimulate it.
- Cancer vaccines: Cancer vaccines contain tumor-specific antigens (molecules that provoke an immune response). These vaccines encourage the body’s immune system to attack tumor cells that also contain these antigens.
Targeted Therapy at UCLA
Compared to chemotherapy and radiation that kill both cancer cells and healthy cells, targeted therapies only treat the cancer cells themselves. This helps minimize damage to healthy cells. They often have less severe side effects compared to chemotherapy and may work when chemotherapy drugs do not.
Targeted therapies available at UCLA include Tarceva® (erlotinib) combined with the chemotherapy drug Gemzar® (gemcitabine). This FDA-approved therapy for advanced pancreatic cancer targets molecules that promote tumor growth.
Learn more about pancreatic disease treatment at UCLA.