For many women, breast cancer may seem like a death sentence.
But scientists in Europe may have found a new treatment option that could increase survivability in women with aggressive breast cancer.
The recent Cancer Research UK-funded trial found that it is possible to treat breast cancer without needing to undergo chemotherapy. Remarkably, thanks to a cocktail of two breast cancer drugs, 11 percent of the cancers were found to have entirely disappeared within just two weeks. A further 17 percent of cases featured dramatically shrunken tumors after a simple change in treatment.
Considering that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, this may be good news for many of us.
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 (a.k.a trastuzumab) and Lapatinib.
- The two drugs are commonly used in breast cancer treatment already, but this is the first time they had been combined together and used before surgery and chemotherapy. What they found was they were able to eliminate some types of breast cancer in just 11 days.
he scientists were funded by Cancer Research UK, and they aimed to use these drugs to eliminate and fight a protein by the name of HER2 (short for Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2). This protein is known to affect the division and growth of the cancer cells, and is also more likely to return than any other cancer type.
What makes this treatment one of the best so far is that it completely eliminates the need for surgery and chemotherapy. There are no unwanted side-effects like fatigue, vomiting or hair-loss since this treatment is less impactful on the body. Plus, chemotherapy is not always effective and it isn’t the right choice for some patients, so any kind of alternative cure and medicine are always welcomed.
The Results of the Study
257 women with HER2 positive breast cancer participated in the study; one half of them were put on the drug combo, and the other half was the control group. It was discovered that the participants who were on the drug combo, 11 percent of them, had no cancer cells remaining two weeks later, and 17 percent of them had dramatically shrunken tumors.
The control group was only given Herceptin, and 0 percent of them had no trace of cancer cells. Only 3 percent of the participants in the control group showed a drop in tumor size.
- Apparently, the drug combo has a major effect on the breast cancer cells, as opposed to the two drugs being used on their own. Yet, there is a problem, and the problem is that Herceptin’s licensing involves rules that approve this medicine for use alongside chemotherapy, and not alone.
After all, there is still a lot of work and researching to be done, but so far this has been a big breakthrough and a major step towards the fight against one of the deadliest diseases. With medical advancements like this coming out every year, we might win the fight sooner than we think.