Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Breast Cancer Drug Gets the Go-Ahead; Sufferers Will Benefit from New Treatment

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Breast Cancer Drug Gets the Go-Ahead; Sufferers Will Benefit from New Treatment

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Rae Health Reporter? 0191 201 6269 ?

APIONEERING drug trialled in the North East that significantly extends the lives of women with advanced breast cancer has been given the green light by regulators.

From today , patients with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer could benefit from the new personalised treatment, Perjeta, which is now authorised for use in the UK.

Newcastle's Freeman Hospital has been one of the key international centres involved in the development of the drug that stalls disease progression for longer than the gold standard of care.

Perjeta has now been granted a licence by the European Medicines Agency, for patients with previously untreated advanced HER2-positive breast cancer in combination with Herceptin and chemotherapy.

Dr Mark Verrill, consultant medical oncologist at Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Today's approval of Perjeta marks an important and much anticipated advance for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. Perjeta is very effective in HER2-positive disease, extending patients' lives and keeping the cancer at bay for significantly longer than current standard of care.

"It is a very important development as it represents the biggest single step forward in treatment since the introduction of Herceptin, more than a decade ago.

"It is a step towards developing treatment for early-stage cancer and increasing the cure rate of those with the illness."

Data from the Phase III Cleopatra study revealed that the drug reduces the risk of death by 34%.

Patients were also seen to live on average 6.1 months longer without their cancer getting worse, compared with those receiving Herceptin and chemotherapy alone.

After one year on treatment, 94% of patients in the Perjeta arm were still alive, compared with 89% in the comparator study.

One woman who knows the importance of treating HER2-positive breast cancer as soon as possible is June Simpson, 55, from Chester-le-Street, County Durham. …

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