Any sign of hope when it comes to finding the cure for cancer is a good sign. One of these signs was discovered by a group of scientists in Europe which may have found a breakthrough for breast cancer. This type of cancer is the most common one in women. Namely, about one in eight of the women in the US will develop this disease in their lifetime. However, this clinical experiment may have discovered a way to eliminate this awful disease once and for all.
Breast Cancer Breakthrough
Professor Nigel Bundred at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam presented this study and the results of it. Namely, the scientists had tested the effectiveness of a pair of drugs called Herceptin (or trastuzumab) and Lapatinib.
These two medications have already been used in the treatment of breast cancer, but, now, for the first time, they have been combined together. Also, this time, they have been used prior to surgery and chemotherapy. It was discovered that these medications were able to get rid of some types of breast cancer in 11 days only.
This study was funded by Cancer Research UK, and the purpose of it was to use these drugs to fight a protein called HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), a protein that impacts the growth and multiplication of cancer cells. This type of cancer is more likely to come back, compared to other cancer types.
This treatment is additionally appealing due to the fact that it gets rid of the need for chemotherapy and surgery. It doesn’t have temporary side effects, such as hair loss, fatigue, and vomiting, and this also makes this treatment less impactful on the body. as we all know, chemotherapy is not completely effective and it is a wrong choice for many patients, so any other options are welcomed.
257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer participated in the study; one half of them were put on the drug combo, and the other half was the control group. It was discovered that the participants who were on the drug combo, 11 percent of them, had no cancer cells remaining two weeks later, and 17 percent of them had dramatically shrunken tumors.
The control group was only given Herceptin, and 0 percent of them had no trace of cancer cells. Only 3 percent of the participants in the control group showed a drop in tumor size. Apparently, the drug combo has a major effect on the breast cancer cells, as opposed to the two drugs being used on their own.
Yet, there is a problem, and the problem is that Herceptin’s licensing involves rules that approve this medicine for use alongside chemotherapy, and not alone. Maybe the results of this study will contribute to change in those rules though.
Obviously, a lot more work needs to be done, but, hopefully, this is a major step in the combat against one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Every year, the advancements in medicine improve, so it is completely possible that this will happen sooner than we think.
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