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Minnelide moves forward

Minnelide is derived from triptolide, a naturally occurring compound found in the Chinese Thunder God Vine shown in the image above. In 2007, University of Minnesota researchers demonstrated triptolide could inhibit the heat shock proteins that help fuel pancreatic cancer development and could potentially help destroy the cancer cells themselves.

Cancer specialists from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, have launched a Phase 1 clinical trial designed to assess the toxicity of Minnelide, a University of Minnesota-developed drug that has successfully disrupted pancreatic cancer development in laboratory tests.

The current trial won’t directly result in drug approval; rather clinicians will work to assess the drug’s safety and establish proper drug dosing. The trial is designed for patients who have seen their disease progress on standard therapy and have no options left to control their disease.

While University experts are optimistic about the future of Minnelide, they caution that success isn’t guaranteed. Only a small number of drugs tested in early Phase 1 trials will ultimately be approved.

According to University experts, if Phase 1 trials yield results similar to those seen in animal models while establishing the drug can be administered safely, Minnelide could gain provisional approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under their “breakthrough” designation, which could lead to expanded clinical trials.

To ensure patient safety, the current trial will progress slowly, enrolling patients in cohort groups of three over a period of time that allow continuous assessment for side effects. Such an approach allows researchers to adjust dosing levels to determine the most effective levels for patients while maintaining patient safety.

“Pancreatic cancer is devastating disease, and Minnelide represents hope that we may be able to develop a new approach to combating the disease in patients with no other options,” said Edward Greeno, M.D., a University of Minnesota pancreatic cancer specialist, Masonic Cancer Center researcher and associate professor of medicine. “Most pancreatic cancer patients will die of the disease in just six months; it’s the most lethal cancer we face as physicians. It’s obviously our hope that Minnelide helps us better manage this disease because it could be a tremendous step forward.”

Patients interested in more information can call 1(855)486-7226.


  1. September 9, 2013 4:44 am | Craig weir Says:

    that is great news!
    Do you have to be a patient of the hospital to be
    part of the trial?
    My wife is stage 4 first diagnosed in February

    • February 6, 2014 6:54 pm | Lisa Versteegh Says:


      I too am curious to know how the trials are going. My mom just diagnosed stage 4 adencarcinoma pc. Can she participate, I believe she meets the medical requirements.

  2. September 9, 2013 11:13 am | Kathleen Olakunle Says:

    This is so promising! I have nothing but utter respect for the researchers and people in the medical field who collaborated to bring this to pass. This is awesome!

  3. September 28, 2013 4:13 pm | Manny Roberts Says:

    I have survived for 14months withs diagnosis..the breakthrough would be incredible..hope it will save lives..and make it to the mainstream

  4. September 28, 2013 8:58 pm | Linda McGovern Says:

    I have been following the development of this drug for some time. The pre-clinical results were quite promising and I am hopeful that the results of the clinical trials will be equally positive. Thanks to the wonderful team of researchers at the University of Minnesota for their many years of hard work. Patients with diseases such as pancreatic cancer and cholangiocarcinoma have so few options and perhaps this drug will make a difference.

  5. October 2, 2013 3:31 pm | Christine Cardenas Says:

    I have been watching and hoping this clinical trial will come in time to help my Father. It would give me hope as this looks quite promising.

  6. November 6, 2013 1:28 pm | Dan Says:

    Any feedback on how the trial is going?

  7. November 23, 2013 8:45 pm | AJ Levy Says:

    If all goes well, what’s the soonest this can be had? If I obtained this vine, peeled it and it was eaten , would it cause harm?

  8. March 5, 2014 8:42 am | Justin Paquette Says:

    All, currently this is a Phase 1 trial designed to assess Minnelide toxicity. While this is a promising step forward, trial participant numbers are very low. As a result, very few patients are currently being enrolled. We will keep people posted once there are results to the Phase 1 trial to communicate. However at the current time, not all patients who qualify are able to be enrolled. We hope to have an update around the trial soon.

  9. April 6, 2014 3:01 pm | Bridgette kahl Says:

    My husband was diagnosed stage 4 pancreatic cancer, July 3, 2012 at the age of 41. Luckily, he is the healthiest cancer pt you have ever seen. Even though he still has some active disease, we have been able to keep it very controlled and at bay. With that said, we are always looking for the best treatment options. We have been keeping an eye on this study and would like any info on it as it becomes available and when more enrollment may be an option. Thank you in advance for any information you can provide.

  10. April 24, 2014 5:07 pm | Andy Says:

    Hi Bridgette,

    Check out the link below on how to possibly join up with the study. It says they are currently recruiting participants.

  11. April 30, 2014 1:56 pm | Ron Crissman Says:

    Any updates on the progress of the clinical trial? It has been two months since the last inquiry on this site.

  12. June 14, 2015 9:41 pm | Dow Kou Says:

    Hi, my mom was just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was wondering if there have been any updates on the stage 1 results? Looks like the data collection should have ended in May 2015, with the study completed in August 2015. Thanks!

  13. December 9, 2015 4:27 am | Claudia Fracalanza Says:

    Hi, my dad was diagnosed with pc stage IV few months ago, he’s getting Folfirinox but his tumors continue to grow… We would like to enroll in Minnelide clinical trial but problem is we live in Brazil.
    Are there any perspectives for starting an expanded access program?
    Also… when can we expect to see the first clinical trials’ results?
    Please help…
    Thanks! Claudia

    • April 26, 2016 11:10 am | Barbora Krupková Says:

      Hi Claudia,
      I am from Czech and my dad diagnosed pancreatic carcinom 8.4.2016. They don´t offer him any treatment, so we looking for some alternative therapy for example:
      I would like to ask you if we are successful with clinical study of Minnelide in Masonic Cancer Center for your dad??
      Thanks for answer! Barbora