New Drugs, New Combinations Fight Breast Cancer

Targeted therapies could make inroads against metastatic disease, researchers say

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So called gamma-secretase inhibitor drugs, which activate the Notch pathway, succeeded in rendering cancer stem cells vulnerable to chemotherapy in an animal model.

And in one human patient, the drug managed to shrink a tumor in a woman who had failed all attempts at chemotherapy.

"She is now about to go for surgery," Chang reported. "Previously, a patient like this is inoperable."

A final study found that treating estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer tumors with a combination of an experimental drug called fidarestat and Femara (the aromatase inhibitor letrozole) either delayed or eliminated tumors that had developed a resistance to hormone therapy.

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, found that fidarestat affects cellular metabolism of glucose, which provides energy for cells, sustaining tumor growth.

More information

There's more on breast cancer at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

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