Skip to comments.Study: 'Smart bomb' drug attacks breast cancer ("People don't lose their hair or throw up")
Posted on 06/03/2012 2:25:20 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Doctors have successfully dropped the first "smart bomb" on breast cancer, using a drug to deliver a toxic payload to tumor cells while leaving healthy ones alone.
In a key test involving nearly 1,000 women with very advanced disease, the experimental treatment extended by several months the time women lived without their cancer getting worse, doctors planned to report Sunday at a cancer conference in Chicago.
More importantly, the treatment seems likely to improve survival; it will take more time to know for sure. After two years, 65 percent of women who received it were still alive versus 47 percent of those in a comparison group given two standard cancer drugs.
That margin fell just short of the very strict criteria researchers set for stopping the study and declaring the new treatment a winner, and they hope the benefit becomes more clear with time. In fact, so many women on the new treatment are still alive that researchers cannot yet determine average survival for the group.
"The absolute difference is greater than one year in how long these people live," said the study's leader, Dr. Kimberly Blackwell of Duke University. "This is a major step forward."
A warning to hopeful patients: the drug is still experimental, so not available yet. Its backers hope it can reach the market within a year.
The treatment builds on Herceptin, the first gene-targeted therapy for breast cancer. It is used for about 20 percent of patients whose tumors overproduce a certain protein.
Researchers combined Herceptin with a chemotherapy so toxic that it can't be given by itself, plus a chemical to keep the two linked until they reach a cancer cell where the poison can be released to kill it.
(Excerpt) Read more at msnbc.msn.com ...
Here’s how the test went:
Doctors tested T-DM1 in 991 women with widely spread breast cancer that was getting worse despite treatment with chemotherapy and ordinary Herceptin. They were given either T-DM1 infusions every three weeks or infusions of Xeloda plus daily Tykerb pills the only other treatments approved for such cases.
The median time until cancer got worse was nearly 10 months in the women given T-DM1 versus just over 6 months for the others. That is about the same magnitude of benefit initially seen with Herceptin, which later proved to improve overall survival.
T-DM1 caused fewer side effects than the other drugs did. Some women on T-DM1 had signs of liver damage and low levels of factors that help blood clot, but most did not have the usual problems of chemotherapy.
People don’t lose their hair, they don’t throw up. They don’t need nausea medicines, they don’t need transfusions.
I wish they had it for lung cancer. I had my 1st chemo 2 weeks ago and it kicked my butt.
Seems like there is a lot of good cancer cures and treatments coming out as of late...hopefully they will have cancer kicked in 15-20 years..
I’m sorry you are going through that. I was treated for breast cancer a few years ago. Do you want me to put you on my prayer list? Good luck, rickyc.
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