Wonder medicine can offer protection from breast cancer for long
In a major development on the front of cancer treatment a new drug has been found effective in increasing remission time and reduces side-effects of chemotherapy, says medical experts.
The new drug has been found to stall the disease for longer than current treatments, this discovery has given a ray of hope to those battling this disease.
The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle is one of the few hospital in the world to test a new treatment for advanced breast cancer.
Results from the study also show the drug, T-DM1, significantly reduces the side effects of chemotherapy.
Even the drug is T-DM1 is undergoing further trials, the discovery is highly lauded as a major step forward.
Dr Mark Verrill, consultant medical oncologist at the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has played an instrumental role in this study, which specifically looked at an advanced stage of the disease known as HER2-positive.
"For the first time in breast cancer, we have been able to significantly extend patients' remission time while also reducing the side effects associated with chemotherapy," the Daily Mail quoted the oncologist as saying.
"This is an exciting development because HER2-positive breast cancer is very aggressive.
"Once it reaches the advanced stage it becomes difficult to treat and there is a real need for effective new treatments, like T-DM1, to improve the outlook for women with this aggressive disease," he added.
T-DM1 is often referred as an "antibody-drug conjugate", which is the first medicine of its kind for the treatment of breast cancer.
The drug combines together the accuracy of the HER2-targeted antibody, called Herceptin, with the power of the chemotherapy agent, DM1, as a single therapy.
T-DM1 has been formulated to find and destroy only the cancerous cells in a two-stage attack.
Firstly, it attaches to the cancer growth and blocks signals that aggravate the tumor to get larger and spread.
In the second stage it penetrates the cell's outer defenses and releases a high dose of chemotherapy to destroy it from within.
The study's results have been welcomed by breast cancer survivor, Joanne Smith, from Whickham, Gateshead.
"For the first time in breast cancer, we have been able to significantly extend patients' remission time while also reducing the side effects associated with chemotherapy," she added.
The 41-year-old, who was diagnosed in 2005 and had received therapy for more than four years, said: "Anything that helps people beat breast cancer is going to be good news and is very welcome.
"It's lovely that advances are being made and it's especially lovely that the North East has played a part in it," she added.
Results of the study reveal that more patients responded to T-DM1 and for a longer period of time, in comparison to the currently licensed treatment known as lapatinib plus capecitabine chemotherapy.
Researchers believe the technique of attaching a powerful chemotherapy to an antibody, like Herceptin, could also change the mode of treatment of breast cancers in the future.
--with inputs from ANI
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