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'Magic Bullet' Drug Delays Breast Cancer Worsening

T-DM1 Spares Women From Some, But Not All, Serious Side Effects

How T-DM1 Works continued...

"I think this will offer a very important therapeutic option for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer," she says. "I think it's the first of many antibody-drug [combinations] to follow that will link a potent anti-cancer agent to a targeted delivery system with an antibody."

About two dozen similar drugs, collectively known as antibody-drug conjugates, are in various stages of development, according to Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University.

T-DM1 is a "magic bullet," Weiner says. He likens it to a Trojan horse that is welcomed into the cell while hiding something that is toxic to the cell.

The drug is made by Genentech, which funded the trial. The company plans to file for FDA approval later this year.

No cost has been set, but targeted cancer drugs often cost tens of thousands of dollars a month.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary, as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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