Researchers at Cancer Research UK's Cambridge Research Institute carried out an experiment on mice, in which a chemotherapy drug called gemcitabine was combined with an experimental drug called MRK003 resulting in a chain of events that ultimately killed the cancer cells.

In a press release, Cancer Research UK revealed that testing was currently on in humans.

Study author Professor David Tuveson said: This research is a real example of how research taking place in the lab directly influences decisions made in the clinic to improve treatment for patients.

We've discovered why these two drugs together set off a domino effect of molecular activity to switch off cell survival processes and destroy pancreatic cancer cells, Tuveson said.

The trial is being carried out on Richard Griffiths after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2011.

Griffiths said: After I was diagnosed, I was told about the trial and came to Cambridge to meet the team. I was given a lot of information and agreed to take part in this trial. It was mentioned that it was funded by Cancer Research UK and, as I go through the treatment, I have really come to appreciate how important that money is. After six cycles of treatment, a scan showed the tumours had reduced and so I have continued with the treatment. The trial gives you hope - I really feel I can do this with the science behind me, he added.

Each year around 8,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the UK.

Dr. Julie Sharp a senior science information manager at the Cancer Research UK said: There's an urgent need for new drugs for pancreatic cancer. The disease is often not diagnosed until it has spread, making it very difficult to treat.

Sharp added, Cancer Research UK previously funded the largest ever trial for people with operable pancreatic cancer, which led to a worldwide change in the way the disease is treated, helping to improve survival. But there is much more to be done.