Health Care

N4.3 Million Drug Out to Extend Lives of Cancerous Young Women

N4.3 Million Drug Out to Extend Lives of Cancerous Young Women”

The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, showed that the addition of cell-cycle inhibitor ribociclib increased survival rates to 70 per cent after three and a half years.

Among patients under 59 and pre-menopausal, the mortality rate was 29 percent less when they were randomly assigned a placebo.

The drug was first approved as a treatment for postmenopausal women with advanced breast cancer that's hormone-receptor positive, meaning that estrogen fuels the cancer's growth.

Seventy percent of the women who took the combination therapy were alive after 42 months according to the findings, compared to 46% for women who were treated with only the hormone therapy and a placebo.

Lead author of the study, Dr. Sara Hurvitz, who directs the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Programme at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Centre, United States, said the study is the first to show significant benefits in survival for premenopausal women with metastatic hormone-receptor positive breast cancer.

The drug works by inhibiting the activity of cancer-cell promoting enzymes.

Though advanced breast cancer is less common among younger women, its incidence grew two per cent per year in the U.S. between 1978 and 2008 for women aged 20 to 39, according to a previous study.

"This is indescribably good news for patients and their families", said Lady Delyth Morgan, the chief executive at Breast Cancer Care and Breast Cancer Now.

Globally, breast cancer causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women, according to the World Health Organization.

Younger women with breast cancer have been given the hope of living longer after what is described as "one of the greatest advances in breast cancer research in recent decades". "That's what makes us so excited because it's a therapy that's affecting so many patients with advanced disease", added Hurvitz.

The study was funded by pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis which markets ribociclib under the brand name Kisqali.

But, she added, "the majority of patients in the USA with commercial insurance will pay $0 per month for their Kisqali prescription".

A pioneering drug that boosts survival for women with breast cancer can stall progression of prostate cancer in men, a landmark study has found. "The use of ribociclib as a frontline therapy significantly prolonged overall survival, which is good news for women with this awful disease".

Hurvitz in a statement, said: "This trial was unique because it looks at younger women who haven't gone through menopause".

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