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New Drug is Available to Treat Breast Cancer

breast cancer

New Drug is Available to Treat Breast Cancer

A new drug called Perjeta has being shown to reduce breast cancer by up to 40 % in women.  Perjeta is used to treat patients with Her2 positive, a very aggressive form of the condition.  The drug has helped to extend some patient’s lives by over 15 months.  Professor David Miles, Study Leader of the Mount Vernon Cancer Centre in Hertfordshire, England revealed his findings to the American Society for Clinical Oncology in Chicago during a recent conference. Professor Miles had conducted a trial where 417 women with breast cancer noticed a 30 % reduction in their tumours after taking Perjeta.  These women no longer needed a mastectomy.  Another trial conducted in Chicago revealed that the pill Palbociclib prevented the growth of tumours in women with advanced breast cancer.

A different study at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London, who had administered Palbociclib to 521 patients with advanced breast cancer, showed that the tumours did not spread but remained the same for five months longer compared to that of other medications. This enabled women to delay their chemotherapy treatment.  The side effects from chemotherapy are often so horrendous that many people choose to stop the treatment.  Dr Nicholas Turner of the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust said ‘It could help a lot of women delay the moment when they start chemotherapy, which is effective but is often a very difficult experience for women and their families to go through.’

Perjeta and Palbociclib help to prevent the tumours from spreading, however they are very expensive treatments.  In Britain Perjeta costs £9,500 (€13,200) for a course of treatment and it has to be administered with another medication called Herceptin which costs £25,000 (€34,700.) Palbociclib costs about £6,500 (€9000) for a month’s treatment.  The first operation is not always successful and about 20% of patients were required to undergo another operation in order to destroy cancer cells.  American scientists said that surgically removing extra breast tissue in women with breast cancer reduced the spread of it reoccurring by up to 50%.  Dr Anees Chagpar Specialist in Breast Surgery at Yale University School of Medicine said ‘When you think about the emotional impact, let alone the economic impact of those second surgeries, that’s a big deal.’ ‘So the question we asked ourselves is, “How can we do this better?”

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