TENS of thousands of women could live longer thanks to a “game-changing” drug that keeps advanced breast cancer at bay, according to The Sun. Gene block pill palbociclib halted secondary tumours in their tracks for twice as long as current drugs when combined with conventional hormone treatment.
On average, it worked for 9½ months — compared to around 4½ with normal medication — before chemotherapy was needed. In some cases, a trial of 521 women showed, the drug helped keep cancer at bay for two years. Two in three patients on the combination therapy saw their tumour shrink or stop growing, compared to 40 per cent on normal treatment.
Experts say palbociclib — which costs around £85,000 for a year’s course in the US — works in 75 per cent of breast cancers by blocking two genes that fuel tumour growth. Medics hope European regulators will approve it later this year. It could be available on the NHS by 2017 and will help around 8,000 Brits a year.
Experts plan to test it on women with early breast cancer to help boost survival rates. Dr Nicholas Turner, from London’s Institute of Cancer Research, spearheaded the study. He said: “In combining new drugs in innovative trials we can find better options for women with advanced breast cancer.”
Samia al Qadhi, of Breast Cancer Care, said: “This treatment option could be a real game changer.” Breast Cancer Now said: “Palbociclib shows great promise.” More than 50,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 12,000 die.
I’ve had another chance
ALMOST nine years ago I was diagnosed with secondary or incurable breast cancer. Chemo and standard treatment helped and I was in remission until May 2014, when a scan showed it had spread. Within days I was offered the chance to take part in a worldwide trial for palbociclib — and the results have been astonishing.
The tumour shrank almost immediately, letting me work and lead a relatively normal life. There are side-effects. The drug attacks my white blood cells, causing fatigue and a danger of fever. About 15,000 US women can get the drug on licence. The hope is that Brits will get this life-extending, if not life-saving, chance like me.
Prostate diet find
MEN on a vegan diet cut their risk of prostate cancer by 35 per cent, research suggests. Vegans avoid foods from animals, such as meat and dairy items. The diet is based on plants and includes veg, grains, nuts and fruits.
The US study finding comes as more than 10,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.