A breakthrough cancer therapy destroys deadly tumors in a mere 11 days. Less than 2 weeks and the highly dreaded, life-threatening disease is uprooted.
This “astonishing” news was the outcome of a study funded by Cancer Research UK and conducted by the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation.
Trials showed a substantial decrease in tumor size, and in some cases, complete disappearance. Professor Nigel Bundred, professor of surgical oncology at the University of Manchester and lead researcher of this experiment admitted, “For solid tumors to disappear in 11 days is unheard of. These are mind boggling results.”
These “mind-boggling results” were presented and discussed at the 10th European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-10) in Amsterdam, on 10th March, 2016.
The therapy is a combination therapy involving two drugs, Herceptin and Tyverb. Herceptin is currently used in HER2-positive breast cancer treatments and is normally prescribed to patients for about 12 months. The other drug, Tyverb, was a promising drug but the NHS rationing bodies rejected it on the grounds of cost-effectiveness.
This two-drug concoction exerted its effects on three types of dimensions in cancer:
- on tumors as large as 3 cm
- on one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer, HER2 positive, a cancer type that has a tendency to grow rapidly.
- even on cancer that had creeped into the lymph nodes, in which case it is known as metastasis.
The drug combination was given to 257 patients 11 days prior to the scheduled surgery. Examination of the tumor on the day of the surgery revealed remarkable results. Of 66 women administered with the combination therapy, instantaneous response was noted in about 87 percent. There was a decrease in proteins responsible for cell growth and division, and an increase in cancer cell death, in about 30 percent of patients. The most astonishing results, however, were from 28 percent of women: 17 percent saw the tumor shrink significantly, to less than 5 mm, an area so small that it is classified as a “minimal residual disease”. 11 percent saw the tumor completely disappear. Within a fortnight. This is unheard of, since months or years pass until a tumor responds to treatment.
Professor Bundred speculated that he and his team are “pretty certain that we are not only getting tumor disappearance- we are getting an immune response as well.”
The scientists said they were unsure of the exact mechanism of action of the drug combo but said it was powerful enough to block multiplication of and kill the cancer cells and to cause an immune response.
Despite the high expense of the drugs, the costs can be reduced owing to the remarkably short treatment length. “If you are only using it for 11 days, it’s dirt cheap,” said Professor David Cameron, oncologist at Edinburgh University and fellow researcher of Professor Bundred. It’s paying peanuts for drastically reducing or eliminating a potentially fatal disease within 2 weeks.
This is the first time that drugs have shown such a response. Professor Bundred said, “This has ground-breaking potential because it allows us to identify a group of patients who, within 11 days, have had their tumors disappear with anti-HER2 therapy alone and who potentially may not require subsequent chemotherapy. This offers the opportunity to tailor treatment for each individual woman.” This discovery could revolutionize future breast cancer treatment as Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Care Samia al Qadhi rightly said, “Although an early study, this has game changing potential.”
More may be read on this topic at the reference sites:
And/Or may be viewed at this YouTube video: