Published on 06/06/2012
A new experimental breast cancer drug has shown to stall the disease for three months with fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy.
T-DM1 combines cancer drug Herceptin with chemotherapy in one dose. It is the first drug of its kind for breast cancer. T-DM1 attaches to part of the cancer cell and prevents it from spreading, and at the same time burrows into the cell and releases chemotherapy from within.
In a trial of almost 1,000 patients with advanced HER2 positive breast cancer, four in ten responded to the drug. Less than a third responded to standard treatment. T-DM1 also appeared to work for longer.
Presenting their findings at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago, makers Roche hope to apply for a license by the end of the year. Professor Paul Ellis, of Guy’s Hospital, in London, said:
“These results are remarkable because, for the first time in breast cancer, we have been able to significantly improve efficacy while substantially reducing many of the unpleasant side effects associated with chemotherapy."
“HER2-positive breast cancer is very aggressive and once it progresses to the ‘advanced’ stage it becomes very difficult to treat, so there is a real need for new treatment options, like T-DM1, that can keep cancer at bay while maintaining patients’ quality of life.”
If patients want to access T-DM1, they should speak to their healthcare teams about further clinical trials in the UK. Some health insurers like Aviva will cover the cost of experimental cancer treatment.
However, once the drug has become licensed all people with full cancer cover should have access to T-DM1 on their health insurance policy.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Medical