Cancer impacts and changes the lives of millions of people and their families every day. With that being said, any day in which new developments in cancer research come out are grounds for declaring it a great day. Scientists in Europe may have found a breakthrough for individuals with breast cancer. The most common cancer in women, around 1 in 8 American women will develop it in their lifetime. Fortunately, in the clinical trial, scientists may have found a way to rid us of it once and for all in the future.
Breast Cancer Breakthrough
Research presented by professor Nigel Bundred at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam revealed that they had tested the effectiveness of a pair of drugs known as Herceptin. Also known as trastuzumab and Lapatinib. These two drugs are commonly used in breast cancer treatments already. However, this is the first time scientists have combined the two, using them before surgery and chemotherapy treatments. They were successful in eliminating some types of breast cancer in just 11 days.
Funded by Cancer Research UK, their aim was to use these two drugs to combat a protein called HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2). Ultimately, this affects the growth and division of cancer cell. Also, it is more likely to return than other cancer types.
Additionally, what makes this treatment so appealing is the fact that it may eliminate the need for chemotherapy or surgery in some cases.Related: 7 Often Ignored Signs of Breast Cancer
257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer were selected for the study. During the first round, 130 women were assigned to one of three groups. Some women received Herceptin, others received lapatinib. Both of these groups were treated for 11 days after diagnosis and before surgery. The third, which served as the control group, received no drug treatment. What they discovered was that of those on the combination of Herceptin and lapatinib, 7 of the 66 women had no cancer cells remaining within two weeks. An additional 11 women featured dramatically shrunken tumors.
In comparison to the control group, who were only given Herceptin, they were found to have 0% with no trace of cancer cells. while only 3% showed a drop in tumor size. Clearly, the two drugs, when combined, have a major effect on breast cancer cells as opposed to being used on their own.
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The main issue, however, is that Herceptin’s licensing makes it only available to be used alongside chemotherapy. This means it cannot be used as a treatment alone. The results of this study may help to change that.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, this is a monumental step in fighting against one of the world’s deadliest diseases. With medical advancements improving this year, cancer as we know it may be wiped out completely.