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Pancreatic cancer; neuroendocrine tumors


In vitro and mouse studies suggest antagonizing NMDAR could help treat various cancers including pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). In mouse PNET cancer cell lines, an NMDAR antagonist decreased proliferation and invasiveness and increased apoptosis compared with vehicle. In a mouse model for PNET, the NMDAR antagonist led to fewer and smaller tumors than vehicle. In patients who have PNETs, ovarian cancers or gliomas, high levels of NMDAR were associated with decreased survival. Next steps include developing NMDAR antagonists that do not cross the blood brain barrier.
At least 20 companies have NMDAR antagonists in development stages ranging from preclinical to marketed for non-oncology indications including neurological diseases.

SciBX 6(15); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.362
Published online April 18, 2013

Findings unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Li, L. & Hanahan, D. Cell; published online March 28, 2013;
Contact: Douglas Hanahan, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland