Pancreatic cancer has only a five-year survival rate of less than ten per cent, but Aucentra Therapeutics is hoping to reverse this with a new investigational drug call AU3-14 (Auceliciclib). AU3-14 is taken as an oral capsule and demonstrating safety and therapeutic potential in clinical trials in patients with glioblastoma, colorectal cancer, and ovarian cancer.

“Pancreatic cancer is extremely difficult to diagnose at an early stage as there are very few symptoms,” Prof Shudong Wang says, “once it spreads into other organs it is lethal, and chemotherapy and radiotherapy only buy patients a little extra time.”

AU3-14 has been developed by Prof Wang and her team to specifically target the enzymes called cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6). As over activation of CDK4/6 is the major cause of pancreatic tumour growth and spread, AU3-14 has potential to kill the cancer cells without damaging healthy tissue.

A stage 4 pancreatic cancer patient from Adelaide, Gaynor van der Walt described her experience living with pancreatic cancer, and emphasised the importance of supporting clinical trials for drugs such as Auceliciclib.

Read more about Gaynor’s battle with pancreatic cancer and what Aucentra is doing to help patients like her here.