Rebba Martin, President, Breast Cancer Help, Inc., says an experimental drug that can detect and destroy cancer cells is a step in the right direction and may mean that a cure for breast cancer could be found in the future.
The drug currently under review, trastuzumab emtansine (also known as T-DM1), is a combination of two other medications, Herceptin (the brand name for trastuzumab) and emtansine (also known as DM1). Herceptin, which blocks the cell signals in order to inhibit the growth of the cancer cells, delivers the DM1 drug straight to the cancer cells and kills them. This is done without harming the surrounding healthy cells.
In a recent clinical trial of 1,000 women, one group was given the traditional treatment of Xeloda and Tykerb and another was given the experimental drug. The women who received the T-DM1 had a progression-free survival rate of 9.6 months, compared to 6.4 months for those with standard therapy.
“It is very nice to see all the research that is being done finally begin to pay off,” Ms. Pace said. “Hopefully, we will get closer to finding a cure and, maybe, a cause so that we will know what to tell our children and grandchildren on how to prevent themselves from getting breast cancer. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”