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A newly-developed protein called Affitoxin has been shown in lab tests to effectively destroy HER2-positive breast tumors that have stopped responding to Herceptin.
Women with HER2-positive breast cancer had few treatments available to them until Herceptin was introduced. “However, in many cases Herceptin eventually stops working for these women. If Affitoxin realizes its potential as a new treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer, it may overcome this issue of resistance and become an important alternative treatment,” said Delyth Morgan, chief executive of U.K.-based research charity Breast Cancer Campaign. “These promising results indicate a clinical trial is urgently needed to move this drug closer to patient use.”
Affitoxin is thought to kill cancer cells by delivering a bacterial toxin straight to them. And in tests with mice, said lead study author Dr. Jacek Capala of the National Cancer Institute in Philadelphia, “even relatively large, aggressive tumors stopped growing and most of them disappeared.”
“Herceptin has revolutionized the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but a significant number of tumors acquire resistance to the drug,” says Capala. “Affitoxin could offer another therapeutic option for those patients whose tumors no longer respond to Herceptin.”
The paper detailing these lab results recently was published in the journal Clinical Cancer Research. Additional information about the anti-cancer agent is available through this article at cancernetwork.com.
August 29, 2011