New drug fights breast cancer better

24/03/2007

Medical practitioners have discovered that a new drug Avastin administered in combination with chemotherapy can considerably contain the growth of breast cancer

It has been found that Avastin limits the growth of the blood vessels that supply blood to the cancerous tissue thereby restricting the spreading of cancer. The Avastin-chemotherapy combo can prevent metastasis i.e. spread of cancer further than the breast

The above findings are based on a study funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. The doctors studied a sample of 722 patients; in a section of the sample that was administered a combination of Taxol (a regular chemotherapy drug) and Avastin, the patients' cancer remained stable for 11.4 months.

On the other hand, in the group that was given Taxol alone, the cancer did not grow until 6.11 months. The combination of chemotherapy with Avastin kept the growth of cancer restrained for twice as long. Though the combo treatment has a side-effect, that is high-blood pressure, but it can easily be kept under check using suitable medicines.

“This is a new cancer therapy that could be applied to women who are not candidates for Herceptin,” said Dr Robin Zon, of South Bend, Indiana, the lead author of the study. Herceptin is not suitable for almost eighty percent of women with breast cancer in its advanced stages. “The next step will be introducing the new drug in patients whose breast cancer has not spread,” added Dr. Zon. He was addressing the 5th European Breast Cancer Conference in Nice, France

Avastin, manufactured by drug-makers Roche Holding AG, has also been found effective in fighting colorectal and lung cancers. The drug however is rather expensive



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