Clinical Trials Assess NP-137’s Impact on Pancreatic Cancer Progression

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most fatal cancers affecting people worldwide. In 2015, over 411,00 people died of pancreatic cancer, globally. In 2020, an estimated 95,000 people were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States of America alone.

CT Image of Pancreatic Cancer

CT Image of Pancreatic Cancer.

Records show high mortality rates, however, early detection leads to an increase in survival rates. Currently, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 12.5% and can rise to 20% if detected early.

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The commonest of pancreatic cancers is pancreatic adenocarcinoma which is responsible for over 90% of cases. This tumor originates from the part of the pancreas that produces digestive enzymes, hence causing gastrointestinal symptoms like jaundice, abdominal pain, fatty stool, indigestion, and unexplained weight loss.

Typically, pancreatic cancer remains asymptomatic until it has spread to distant organs, which is why the prognosis is very poor. Treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. However, by the time distant spread happens, treatment options might not be able to do much.

NP-137 shows promising results

Numerous studies and clinical trials have been carried out over the years to find new methods of treatment for pancreatic cancer. A new drug in development called, NP-137, will likely be approved soon for the treatment of advanced pancreatic ductal carcinoma and a couple of other solid malignancies.

The drug, which was recently tested in a phase 1 clinical trial, is a monoclonal antibody that targets the netrin-1 receptor on the surface of solid tumors to inhibit growth and spread. The purpose of this phase was to establish the safety profile and discover the pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and anti-tumor properties. A phase two trial called LAP-NET1, is currently underway.

Netrin-1 is a glycoprotein receptor that is expressed by cancer cells and plays a key role in cell survival, the creation of new blood vessels, and neural signaling. In animal subjects, targeting the receptor caused a halt in tumor cell growth and induced cell death.

In the just concluded phase 1 trial, they recruited 70 patients and administered NP-137 intravenous infusion at 1 mg/kg. In the course of the trial, they found out that a starting dose of 6 mg/kg was safe and administered this to the subsequent recruits.

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At the end of the study, they concluded that NP-137 was well tolerated by the human subjects. Also, they noticed mild to moderate infusion-related reactions. Overall, the drug showed encouraging signs of clinical activity.

Recruitment is currently ongoing for a phase 2 trial. The study will compare the efficacy of Np-137 and chemotherapy; mFOLFIRINOX (5-fluorouracil with leucovorin, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin), which is a standard of care for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.

Clinical significance

With the anticipated rise in the mortality rate of pancreatic cancer, LAP-NET1 will investigate and expose the possible interactions between Np-137 and mFOLFIRINOX. If the outcome is positive, the combination can be used as a first-line therapy for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. This can increase quality of life, rate of survival, and general clinical outcomes.


Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest cancers with the highest mortality. Often, a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is seen by patients as nothing more than a death sentence. Late presentation is a major contributory factor to this. Hopefully, in the future, these statements may not hold true and those battling with pancreatic cancer will have more positive outcomes to look forward to.


Netris, V. (2023, March 29). NETRIS Pharma Doses First Patient in Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Study with NP137. NETRIS PHARMA. Retrieved March 17, 2024, from



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