Thursday, 19 July, 2018


Taking a new look at cancer treatment

A new study finds some early stage breast cancer survivors will benefit just as well from endocrine therapy without the need for chemotherapy to prevent recurrence Taking a new look at cancer treatment
Patty Aguilar | 08 June, 2018, 18:42

There are still times when chemotherapy is appropriate for patients with Stage 1 breast cancer and each patient's specific case should be reviewed by a medical oncologist. The other looks at immunotherapy. When all those methods failed to halt the spread of cancer to her chest and liver, she was sure she was going to die - that is, until she met Dr. Steven Rosenberg at the National Institutes of Health.

Proceeds from the U.S. Postal Service's breast cancer stamp put researchers over the top when they were trying to get enough money to do the landmark study published on Sunday that showed genetic testing can reveal which women with early-stage breast cancer need chemo and which do not.

Dr. Joseph Sparano, lead researcher, Montefiore Medical Center, New York, said, "The impact is remarkable". The side-effects of hormonal therapy, which involves taking one pill a day for five to 10 years after surgery, are much less severe.

The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute, some foundations and proceeds from the USA breast cancer postage stamp. "Some study leaders consult for breast cancer drugmakers or for the company that makes the gene test". "Ten-thousand women, one of the first studies we've ever had where we're able to personalize or tailor the medication or plan for the patient", says Dr. David Groteluschen a Green Bay Oncology physician with HSHS St. Vincent Cancer Centers.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer for women in the United States and worldwide.

"This research is experimental right now. But because this new approach to immunotherapy is dependent on mutations, not on cancer type, it is in a sense a blueprint we can use for the treatment of many types of cancer'".

Sunday's results came from a federally sponsored trial called TailorX, which was created to help doctors more precisely tailor treatments for early-stage breast cancer. "I felt bad for my family, but I was grateful for the life I had had".

Cancer care has been evolving away from chemotherapy - older drugs with harsh side effects - in favor of gene-targeting therapies, hormone blockers and immune system treatments.

They found a cell line that tackled four mutations, incubated it in the lab to grow a large number of the TILs, and then delivered them via infusion, along with Merck & Co/MSD's checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) to prevent them being inactivated by factors in the tumour microenvironment.

However, she underwent therapy that pumped "90 billion cancer-killing immune cells into her body". But in recent years, as many doctors concluded that women with early-stage cancer were being over-treated, they have reduced their use of chemotherapy, which can cause nausea, fatigue and, in rare cases, more serious complications such as leukemia and heart failure.

"I think it had been maybe 10 days since I'd gotten the cells, and I could already feel that tumor starting to get soft", Perkins said.

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