Actor James Naughton: Drug trial can help develop cure for pancreatic cancer

Actor James Naughton knows the impact that a cancer diagnosis can have on a family. His wife Pam battled pancreatic cancer for four years until her death in 2013.

So Naughton – a two-time Tony Award winner for roles in “City of Angels” and “Chicago” -- helps raise awareness about the disease.

One study is being conducted at a university in London.

“It’s being tested on mice right now,” Naughton told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.” “It’s got a long way to go, but it would be a huge breakthrough on anything that could destroy a pancreatic cancer cell.”

In one night, Naughton and his family raised more than $1 million to benefit another drug trial conducted by the Western Connecticut Health Network.

Pancreatic cancer is soon to become the nation’s second most deadly cancer, following lung cancer. Heart attacks remain the overall No. 1 killer of Americans.

By the time pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it’s usually too late.

“It’s already Stage 3 or Stage 4. That’s why it is so lethal,” Naughton said.

Pancreatic cancer often develops from conditions associated with diabetes, studies have shown.

According to Naughton, anyone over 50 with an early diagnosis of diabetes can be screened for pancreatic cancer at no cost to them. Their participation in the trial could help advance a cure for pancreatic cancer, he said.

Naughton – also known for his role in the TV version of “Planet of the Apes” during the 1970s -- says he’s learned two things from his wife’s health ordeal.

The first: “You are only as healthy as you are when you wake up that morning,” he said, “because you can get a diagnosis for something you didn’t know is coming.”

The second: “Do whatever it takes in that situation.”