Drug ‘new hope’ for breast cancer

Cancer survivor Sharon Burrelllaunches Irish Cancer Society'snew 'Paint it Pink' campaign.

A breast cancer treatment to be trialled in Ireland brings fresh hope to women with a particularly aggressive form of the disease that is resistant to current therapies.

Irish researchers have found that a new type of cancer drug, Copanlisib, acts as a signal blocker in cancer cells. A clinical trial will get under way later this year, with patients recruited through their consultant.

The drug, developed by Bayer, holds the promise of stopping the growth and spread of cancer cells when used in combination with standard therapies.

It will be the first time that the new treatment combination will be made available to Irish patients.

Irish Cancer Society researcher Naomi Elster, who has studied how the drug works, has given hope to a significant proportion of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

The clinical trial was announced at the launch of the Irish Cancer Society’s Paint it Pink breast cancer campaign in Dublin yesterday.

“The fact that this drug is now going to clinical trial has the potential to really make a difference where it’s needed; it is aimed at a group of patients that have less treatment options than others,” said Ms Elster.

Bryan Hennessy, a consultant oncologist at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, who will lead the trial, said the drug could prevent resistance to Herceptin and increase the success rate in treating 25% of breast cancers.

“This is a massive step forward and will help save many more lives,” said Prof Hennessy. “We brought these encouraging results back to Bayer which is now funding our clinical trial to verify the results.”

The Paint it Pink campaign takes place next month. See www.paintitpink.ie for more information.


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