Pharma Strategy Blog

Commentary on Pharma & Biotech Oncology / Hematology New Product Development

The American Cancer Society estimates 183,000 new cases of breast
cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year with more than
40,000 dying from the disease.  A portion of these are women who have triple negative breast cancer, which confers a poorer prognosis.

Triple negative breast cancer occurs where the tumour does not express
estrogen (ER) or progesterone (PR)  receptors or HER2 protein.  This means that standard
treatment with hormone blocking agents and agents that target HER2
such as tamoxifen and
Herceptin respectively, are ineffective weapons against this subtype of breast
cancer.  Women with triple negative breast cancer generally have shorter survival than those who are ER/PR positive.   Identifying better combinations of chemotherapy
and novel biologic agents that are effective in this disease is
therefore critical.

Here in New Jersey, at the Robert Wood Johnson Cancer Center, they are starting a new trial aimed at previously untreated women with triple negative breast cancer using triple combination therapy of doxil, carboplatin, and the anti-angiogenic therapy, Avastin.

Extensive research has suggested that the formation of new blood
vessels plays an important role in the establishment of distant sites
of breast cancer by providing nutrients needed for cell growth to reach
a tumour. 
Avastin has been found to interfere with the production of
new blood vessels, thereby interfering with cell growth and survival at
distant sites. 

Doxil and carboplatin are potent chemotherapies that have been found to prevent the
growth of cancer cells by inhibiting cancer cell reproduction.  Overall, this important
study seeks to determine the response of the patient's tumour to this
novel combination and to assess the side effects.

The new trial is part of the CINJ Oncology Group (CINJOG), which involves physicians throughout New Jersey from the CINJ Network of
hospitals.  For additional information on how to participate,
individuals should call (732) 235-7251.

According to a recent report from the American Cancer Society,
the death rate from breast cancer went down 2.2 percent per year from
1990 to 2004.  Much of that improvement has come as a result of clinical trials and new therapies being developed to treat the disease.

This article is part of the Cancer Research Blog Carnival being hosted by the
Sciencebase Science Blog
last week.

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2 Responses to “Treating triple negative breast cancer”

  1. Anna

    I think more research needs to be conducted on Avastin to help with the startling statistics. It is a scary fact that numbers are growing regarding breast cancer and more treatments need to be found. If Avastin is a problem, that should be the new focus of scientists.

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