​Experimental Breast Cancer T-DM1 Drug

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June 5, 2012

An experimental cure for battling breast cancer in a new drug is showing impressive results after Roche Holding developed a synthetic antibody named Herceptin.

This experimental medication, named T-DM1, transmits chemotherapy straight into malignant cells while deviating from healthy ones, hence prolonging tumors with less side effects than current therapy.

It can best be described as a “smart bomb” that dispenses the cancer-killing chemicals straight to the aggressive tumors while relinquishing surrounding healthy cells.

According to researchers, this combination has been impressive, in treating women who have HER2-positive breast cancer, which is battled by about 25% of breast cancer patients.

The treatment can stop the disease from metastasizing for 9.6 months, compared with 6.4 months with standard therapies.

“It’s a brand-new way of treating HER2-positive breast cancer,” lead study author Dr. Kimberly Blackwell told CNN. “This will offer a very important therapeutic option for patients faced with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer.”

Blackwell, a professor of medicine at Duke University, said patients on the experimental drug also had fewer side effects like nausea and fatigue than those undergoing standard cancer-fighting therapies.

Results of the study of 1,000 patients were revealed Sunday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago.

The T in T-DM1 refers to the drug called trastuzumab emtansine, a man-made antibody developed by Roche Holdings under the brand name Herceptin. DM1 refers to the powerful chemotherapy called emtasine.

About 65% of participants getting the T-DM1 combo treatment were still alive after two years, compared with 48% of patients on standard treatment, Blackwell said.