A breast cancer drug with the potential to replace traditional chemotherapy is accelerating through clinical development.
A breast cancer drug with the potential to replace traditional chemotherapy is accelerating through clinical development and could soon offer patients who previously had limited options an effective treatment.
Over 400,000 people are diagnosed with HER2-positive breast cancer each year, a type of cancer that learns to resist the drugs designed to attack it. Women with HER2 can start by taking the breast cancer drug Herceptin, then often move to Kadcyla once the cancer becomes resistant.
After the disease overpowers Kadcyla, there is no standard course of action, according to Dr. Ian Krop, clinical research director of the Breast Oncology Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
That’s where the DS-8201 cancer treatment, developed by Japanese company Daiichi Sankyo, comes in.
The drug works by attaching chemotherapy to antibodies that offer a targeted attack on cancer cells and milder side effects compared to traditional chemotherapy.
Krop said that in clinical trials, 90% of patients saw some degree of tumor shrinkage. The treatment has also been seen to double survival time for advanced breast cancer patients to 20 months from 10 months.
Krop called the results “precedent-setting.”
“People run out of treatments that work eventually and then we are kind of stuck,” said Krop. “What’s really kind of special about this new drug is that it seems to start working when all the other drugs have stopped working.”
“I think this drug can definitely replace chemotherapy,” said Krop.
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