Friday, October 31, 2014

Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives

News Brief by Sam Kessel

A novel breast cancer drug, called Perjeta, had surprisingly successful results in a clinical trial. The drug was created by Roche Pharmaceuticals and is hailed as a success because it extended patients' lives by 16 months on average, while typical new cancer drugs only extend survival rates by 2 months.  

Advanced breast cancer occurs when the disease has begun to invade, or metastasize, to tissues throughout the body. Currently there is no cure.  Perjeta shows great promise because it delayed progression of breast cancer by approximately six months, and reduced the risk of dying by 32 percent. 

While the drug is already in use and FDA approved, half of all eligible women do not receive the drug. In developing countries, the drug is not being used to its full benefit because the cost is prohibitively high: $5,900 per month. The results of this study will likely lead to expanded use of the drug, now that its therapeutic potential is more fully understood.

Pollack, Andrew. "Roche Breast Cancer Drug Perjeta Appears to Greatly Extend Patients’ Lives." The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Sept. 2014. Web. 31 Oct. 2014. .

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