Positive news! New research revealed at the European Breast Cancer Conference in Amsterdam shows that a pair of drugs is able to eliminate some types of breast cancers in just 11 days. The study, which came out of a Cancer-Research UK-funded trial, has grand implications, as breast cancer is presently the most common cancer for women in both the developed and less developed world, and results in over a half of a million women dying each year, according to 2011 statistics.
The groundbreaking trial sought to determine the effects of Herceptin and Lapatinib, two common drugs used in breast cancer treatment, following tumor-removal surgery and chemotherapy. As The Guardian reports, the drugs work by targeting HER2, a protein that drives the growth of some types of breast cancers — including some particularly aggressive ones.
During the trial, 257 women with HER2-positive breast cancer received the drug combination after being diagnosed with breast cancer, but before surgery took place. Incredibly, 11 percent of the cancers were discovered to have disappeared in just two weeks. And, 17 percent of cases showed dramatically shrunken tumors. Unsurprisingly, the team was shocked by the outcome.
Apparently, breast cancers fueled by HER2 are more likely to return than others, so there is still potential for the women to receive the same cancer diagnosis in the future. However, this small win is a huge boost to those who are presently battling the illness.
As IFLScience reports, a positive outcome of this finding is that breast cancer patients may not need as much chemotherapy — if they need it at all — when taking the two drugs. Chemotherapy is known to have debilitating side effects, such as hair loss, frequent vomiting, powerful fatigue and reduced cognitive functions, so this is positive news. The outcome also suggests surgery may not be necessary.
According to Samia al Qadhi, the chief executive of UK-based Breast Cancer Care, the early-stage study “has game-changing potential.” She added that “at present, Herceptin’s licensing means it is only available to be used alongside chemotherapy and not alone. All cancer patients deserve access to clinically effective treatments.”
Undoubtedly, more research needs to be conducted. This early trial is dripping with positivity, however. And, if patients were to adopt a healthy, plant-based diet, implement CBD oil (if legal) and introduce mindfulness techniques, perhaps the drugs would prove to be even more effective. Only time will tell.
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