Sunday, June 04, 2006

New Drug Holds Promise for Type of Breast Cancer

One more bit of breast cancer news today...this one is incredibly exciting, seriously....

The gist of it is this: For women with a certain type of breast cancer (namely, that which is referred to as "Her2Neu Triple Positive, or Her2Neu+++, and which was considered to be one of the deadliest forms of breast cancer until Herceptin became a part of the protocol...just one year ago**), an experimental drug promises to help women whose cancer continues to advance despite taking Herceptin, doctors here said on Saturday.

The New York Times states, "Some doctors said that the new drug, lapatinib, which the maker GlaxoSmithKline said it would sell under the name Tykerb, would initially be used only as a backup for Herceptin. But after further studies, they said, it may replace Herceptin for some patients, offering a treatment that could be taken as a once-a-day pill rather than as an infusion, which is required for Herceptin."

The NYT goes on to say that at least one doctor, granted one who has worked (as a consultant) for GlaxoSmithKline, has predicted (at a symposium) that death from Her2Neu+++ breast cancer would be eliminated within 10 years. (In an interview, he conceded that other drugs would have to be developed, but said he was confident they would be.)

This is awesome news, even if it is a bit optimistic.

Still, if you had told me 10 years ago about this great, hot stock that I should buy because the company is in the process of Phase III clinical trials of a new chemotherapy drug that actually "targets" a certain type of receptor in a certain type of breast cancer cell, effectively causing the cell to self destruct, I would have said, "HA! Let some other sucker make bets on these crazy ideas. I'd rather go to Vegas and try my luck at Blackjack." A little optimism may have been more appropriate, as it turns out.

** My breast cancer was Her2Neu +++, a fact which reduced me to hysterics when I first found out (I believe that was the first time that I totally lost my shit during the whole breast cancer debacle). But as it turned out, I was "lucky" enough to have an oncologist who kept me abreast of all of the latest developments and who helped me to map out a treatment plan that included a 15-month course of Herceptin, despite that Herceptin was, at the time (2002), offered only to patients with more advanced disease or, alternatively, to patients who were not only enrolled in the clinical study but who were ALSO fortunate enough to be randomized into the arm receiving the drug. And when I say "lucky", I really am only using the word as a stand-in for "so incredibly lucky that I need a new word for lucky because the current one doesn't really begin to describe it".

Kinehurah, puh puh puh.


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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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