we can do,’ ” says Matrisian, chief science officer at the
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, a research and advocacy organization based in Manhattan Beach, California.
In addition, scientists are exploring the role of a commonly expressed protein found in pancreatic cancer cells
called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). The targeted therapy Tarceva (erlotinib), an EGFR inhibitor, was
shown to slightly increase survival when combined with
Gemzar in a clinical trial that led to the approval of this
combination for treating pancreatic cancer in 2005.
“My message is that nobody should be told ‘ We can’t do
anything about pancreatic cancer,’ ” says Jaffee. “It’s still
not an easy disease to treat, but every pancreatic cancer
patient should be evaluated for all these possible treat-
ment options, because these options are helping.”
In the months following his diagnosis, Landon contin-
ued to use humor to put people at ease despite his prog-
nosis. During a May 9, 1991, appearance on The Tonight
Show Starring Johnny Carson, Landon joked about getting
his roots done (Landon had prematurely graying hair) and
his regimen of coffee enemas and carrot juice. He chose to
spend most of the time that remained with his family. On
the weekend before his death, all nine of his children kept
vigil with Clerico at their home. Landon died July 1, 1991,
with Clerico by his bedside.
The enduring appeal of Landon’s brand of wholesome
entertainment is evident in the fact that reruns of Bonanza
and Little House are still broadcast and continue to draw
“In all of his programming, Michael wanted people to
be happy and to relate and feel something in their hearts,”
says McCray. “Everyone felt something when they’d watch
a Michael Landon show. Every time.”
MARCI A. LANDSMANN is senior editor of Cancer Today.
Michael Landon attends a 1989 fundraiser in Malibu, California,
with his wife Cindy, daughter Jennifer and son Sean.
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