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Drug combination shows promise for breast cancer treatment

A new study suggests breast cancer patients who took the drugs Herceptin and Tykerb together were more than twice as likely to see their tumors shrink before surgery, reports CBCNews.

During the study, 450 women receiving chemotherapy were also given Herceptin or Tykerb or a combination of the two. One half of the women taking the drugs together saw their tumors disappear, versus twenty percent of those taking the drug by themselves.

The drugs are designed to target a protein that is overproduced in one-fourth of breast cancers. Tykerb is a small molecule engineered to block the function of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, and other proteins. It is widely believed that excessive HER2 leads to the growth of breast cancer.

"This study suggests that a dual blockade against HER2 is an efficient way to target HER2-positive breast tumors," said lead researcher Dr. Jose Baselga, chief of hematology and oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center.

The research is fantastic news for breast cancer patients who have caught their disease in the early stages. According to the American Cancer Society, women should begin yearly breast cancer screenings at age 40. 
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