I am passing this along for the HER-2 folks out there. I have not heard Herceptin referred to as “controversial” except when its cost has been discussed. If there is other controversy I do not know of it.
A new cousin of the controversial drug Herceptin has opened yet another door to the treatment of breast cancer, it has been revealed.
Like Herceptin, the drug pertuzumab targets the HER-2 gene found in 20% of breast cancer patients.
But while Herceptin blocks a molecular “switch” that promotes cancer growth, the new drug stops the switch being there in the first place. No other drug before it has employed the same mode of action.
Results from a Phase II trial in which pertuzumab was used to treat patients with advanced cancer have proved highly promising.
Almost a quarter of the 66 patients saw their tumours disappear or shrink. In 8% of cases, the cancer effectively vanished. For a further 25% of patients, cancers which had been progressing were stabilised for at least six months.
All the patients had reached a stage in their illness where their disease was progressing despite treatment with Herceptin. They continued to receive Herceptin, but with pertuzumab provided as an additional therapy.
Trial investigator Dr David Miles, medical oncologist at Mount Vernon Hospital, north-west London, said: “The efficacy of this study is impressive considering that this was a treatment regimen containing two antibodies only; one that did not involve any chemotherapy, and represents significant promise for women with breast cancer in the future.
“Its potential lies in its ability to target and block a highly relevant pathway for tumour growth. We are hopeful the combination of trastuzumab and pertuzumab used with chemotherapy will be even more effective if used to treat women newly diagnosed with advanced cancer.”