Researchers from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (PMCC) in Australia announced on friday that a breast cancer treatment which involves taking a new class of drug, called CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitors has successfully halted tumour growth for twice as long as previously recorded, in patients with advanced breast cancer. The research team says it will now try the therapy in patients with early-stage cancer in an attempt to stop the disease from spreading throughout the body.
The tablets, Palbociblib, Ribociclib and Abemaciclib, work differently from hormone treatments currently used by deactivating the process that allows cancer cells to grow uninhibited.
Richard de Boer, an oncologist at the PMCC and Epworth hospital, said that developing a tablet that has no side effects such as the inhibitors was an “exciting” step.
“We’ve got good chemotherapy drugs, but they’re toxic. They require intravenous treatment, you lose your hair and you can feel really sick,” de Boer told reporters on Friday.
“If you can come up with a combination treatment that delays the need for chemotherapy by 10, 20 or 30 months, that’s a great achievement for women with advanced disease. When a cancer grows back again, you’ve got to look at a new treatment. The idea that you might be able to completely arrest the cancer and stop it in its tracks for one to three years in advanced patients, and stop it completely in early-stage women, is exciting.”
More than 4,600 women will participate in the new global trial of Palbociblib where the new drug’s ability to stop cancer from returning after surgery, chemotherapy and radiation will be compared to standard hormone therapy.