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Breast Cancer Drug Trialled In Cornwall "Unprecedented"

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8:13am 29th September 2014
(Updated 8:13am 29th September 2014)

Doctors at Treliske say the results of a new breast cancer drug are "unprecedented."

Cornish patients took part in a trial of Perjeta.

It works by blocking signals that make the tumour more agressive.

Now experts say it can extend the life of women with advanced forms of the diesease by an average of almost 16 months.

Used in conjunction with Herceptin and chemotherapy scientists say it can give HER2-positive women another five years.

But the watchdog has already said it thinks it is too expensive for the NHS.

Dr Duncan Wheatley from the Royal Cornwall Hospital said: "These results are unprecedented.

"Never before in advanced breast cancer have we seen a treatment with such a huge survival benefit, let alone in this particular sub-type of breast cancer which is regarded as being difficult-to-treat with a poor prognosis.

“The strategy of combining two HER2-targeted antibodies with complementary mechanisms of action means that we can control the cancer and extend survival for significantly longer than ever before, while minimising the toxicity. This marks a significant step forward in the fight against the disease and something that should be celebrated.”

Professor David Miles, Consultant Medical Oncologist, lead the study. He said: "These results are impressive. They show a magnitude of survival benefit which we have never seen before in advanced breast cancer, let alone this particular type, previously regarded as having a poor prognosis and being difficult to treat.

“The introduction of Herceptin made a huge difference for our patients but this strategy of combining Herceptin with this second HER2-targeted antibody with complementary mechanisms, means that we are able to control the cancer and prolong survival for even longer.

"The observation that women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer can live alongside their disease for so many years is frankly unprecedented. These data represent a significant step forward in the fight against breast cancer with combination therapies such as this paving the way for cancer treatments in the future.”

8:13am 29th September 2014

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