3 The Technology
3.1 Gemcitabine (Gemzar) is a chemotherapeutic drug that exerts its action by inhibiting DNA synthesis. It is a novel nucleoside analogue with a wide spectrum of anti-tumour activity against a variety of solid tumours including pancreatic cancer.
3.2 Gemcitabine is licensed as a first line treatment of adult patients with locally advanced or metastatic adenocarcinoma of the pancreas and as a second line treatment of patients with 5-FU refractory pancreatic cancer.
3.3 Gemcitabine is generally well tolerated but may cause rashes and mild gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea. Bone marrow suppression, influenza-like symptoms, proteinuria/haematuria, peripheral oedema, bronchospasm, and in rare cases, Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), and potentially irreversible renal failure have been reported.