Breast cancer is one of the most common and life-threatening cancers among women. As studies suggest, after lung cancer, it is the second main cause of cancer deaths in women. Though many advances have been made for its treatment, breast cancer remains a cause of major concern.
One of many such advances includes a recent finding of a therapy which claims to eliminate the need to chemotherapy and surgery. This UK study tested the drugs known as Herceptin and Lapatinib. These two drugs are already commonly used in the treatment of breast cancer. However, this time the researchers combined these two together to test their effectiveness on a protein named HER2, or Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2. This protein affects division and growth of cancer cells and is the most recurring type.
257 women suffering from HER2 breast cancer were selected for this study. Half of them were administered the drug combo while the other half was given only Herceptin. The results, as presented at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam, showed that in almost nine out of 10 women of the first group the number of cancer cells decreased significantly. In some, the cancer cells vanished completely. On the other hand, in the second group the drop in the cancer cells was quite low as compared to the first group. And this development happened in only 11 days.
Nigel Bundred, professor of surgical oncology at the University of Manchester, who leads this research said, “For solid tumours to disappear in 11 days is unheard of. These are mind-boggling results.”
This therapy claims that unlike chemotherapy it doesn’t have side effects such as hair loss, fatigue and vomiting. Though at its early stages, this breakthrough can save many lives and the short duration of the treatment can come out to be cost-effective.