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'Smart bomb' drug approved for late-stage beast cancer patients

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The "smart bomb" drug called Kadacyl could possibly help one fifth of sufferers in late-stage of the disease now that it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The producers of Kadacyl, Genentech say the drug has added almost six months onto the lives of late-stage cancer sufferers in a clinical trial.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Kadacyl is a combination of the well-known drug Herceptin and a chemotherapy drug called DM1, which is too powerful to go straight into the bloodstream.

The drug has been proven effective on HER2-positive breast cancer, a protein which advances cancer growth, adding several months onto the life of many women who were facing death.

Human trials on 991 women with advanced stage HER2-positive breast cancer were found to have extended their lives by an average of 5.8 months compared to standard chemotherapy.

It's estimated that 20 percent of breast cancer sufferers suffer from HER2 protein breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the second most deadly type of cancer among American women. It's estimated that 232,340 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 39,620 will die as a result of the illness.

Genentech says the drug will be available in two weeks. NBC reports it is expensive at a cost of $94,000 for a 10 month course.

Genentech said it would help patients who couldn't afford to make the payments. "People who do not have health insurance, or who have reached the lifetime limit set by their insurance company, might qualify to receive Kadcyla free of charge," it said in the statement.

"Kadcyla is an antibody-drug conjugate representing a completely new way to treat HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and it helped people live nearly six months longer," Chief medical officer and Head of Global Product Development, Hal Barron, says.

"We currently have more than 25 antibody-drug conjugates in our pipeline and hope this promising approach will help us deliver more medicines to fight other cancers in the future."

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