Sheffield breast cancer patients trial new drug

Professor Robert Coleman
Professor Robert Coleman
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A new breast cancer drug will be available to patients from today following successful trials in Sheffield.

The drug for patients with an advanced and aggressive type of breast cancer - advanced HER2-positive - was trialled at a number of centres, including the Sheffield Cancer Research Centre.

Known as Kadcyla, the drug allows chemotherapy to be delivered directly to cancer cells, destroying only the cancerous cells from within.

In trials, the drug was shown to extend the lives of patients by up to six months longer than the currently licensed treatment, while at the same time reducing many of the side effects associated with standard chemotherapy, including hair loss and severe fatigue.

Professor Robert Coleman, who ran the trials in Sheffield, said: “Kadcyla tackles advanced HER2-positive breast cancer in a different way to other breast cancer treatments.

“This means we now have a medicine that could extend women’s lives for longer than existing treatment, while minimising many of the side effects associated with standard chemotherapy.”

Kadcyla blocks the growth signals that lead to cancer cell survival, and engages the immune system, before releasing the chemotherapy directly into the cancer cell to destroy it from within.

The drug is administered intravenously once every three weeks.

A spokesman for manufacturer Roche said the firm ‘looks forward to working with the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence and the Scottish Medicines Consortium to ensure patients and clinicians can access Kadcyla as soon as possible’.

The Sheffield Cancer Research Centre, based at The University of Sheffield, is internationally renowned for its research. It claims around 2,800 people are diagnosed with cancer in each year, and around 1,400 die.

Researchers specialise in bone oncology, tumour microenviroment and cancer genetics.