New breast cancer treatment developed in Spain

Researchers at the University of Salamanca have developed a new treatment for breast cancer based on combining two drugs: herceptin and dasatinib. Tests carried out on animals have demonstrated that the tumour is prevented from growing thanks to the interaction between both of these medicines.

The treatment will be presented for the first time today in Salamanca and according to the scientists involved in the research project the results from the laboratory tests have been ‘astonishing’.

Doctor Atanasio Pandiella, the director of the research team and a member of the Cancer Research Centre says that the findings of this research represent ‘a significant step towards the future of breast cancer treatment’. He also said that he was very hopeful that this new treatment coupled with new generation medicines would mean that ‘an end to this illness is in sight’.

The Spanish Research team into breast cancer has given the go ahead for this new treatment to be given to around 40 women suffering from breast cancer in various hospitals throughout the country.

The research team believes that they will obtain the first results from these trials within a year to a year and a half. Furthermore, if the results are positive then the treatment will immediately be made available to patients with more serious breast tumours.

According to breast cancer specialists the drug herceptin has advanced breast cancer treatment enormously. However, it does not work as well with some patients as with others. Therefore, sometimes it needs to be combined with other drugs such as dasatinib which is regularly used to treat chronic leukaemia.

The results obtained from laboratory tests show that combining both drugs is more efficient than using herceptin on its own and that the combination of herceptin and dasatinib is able to stop the growth of breast tumours with high levels of HER2.

The study has been published in the specialist magazine – The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.