Drug can be used to treat early-stage breast cancer patients

Drug can be used to treat early-stage breast cancer patients
Photo: NBC
Monday, September 16, 2013 - 9:25pm

A stage four breast cancer drug is now being considered to treat some breast cancer patients before surgery.

Some Oncologists say this could be a breakthrough for breast cancer patients with the HER2 gene.

The cancer drug is called Perjeta.

Committee from the Food and Drug Administration voted 13 to 0 to push this cancer drug forward.

In a trial, they discovered Perjeta can be used before surgery to remove patients tumors and save a woman from removing her breast.

"That's a historical piece because we are changing how we are looking at new drugs," said Medical Oncologist with Tyler Cancer Center Sasha Vukelja.

Vukelja said this new treatment will only apply to 20% of patients suffering from breast cancer.

The treatment will be used for patients with the HER2 gene, which Dr. Vukelja said used to be the most aggressive form of breast cancer.

"It's a small fraction base but it's a significant fraction."

The trial showed 39% of patients, who were treated with the drug Perjeta and Herceptin along with some chemotherapy, showed no signs of invasive cancer in the breast tissue.

That was compared to 20% of patients only treated with Herceptin.

"Almost doubled when you added another medication to the chemotherapy on top of that," said Dr. Vukelja.

This new treatment, Dr. Vukelja said, can shrink the tumor small enough to remove, and can save a woman from completely removing her breasts.

And can be the breakthrough for faster approval of cancer drugs.

"It will give us a lot of information and maybe this is the way to proceed with the next generational of drugs faster so we don't wait 10-15 years to get the results."

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