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FDA approves drug therapy for breast cancer patients

New advancements in the treatment or prevention of breast cancer can bring validation to the countless hours volunteers spend raising money and awareness at pink ribbon events.

On February 1, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug combination for a specific type of breast cancer in postmenopausal women.

The drug Tykerb, used in unison with Fermara, can help treat with HER2-positive advanced breast cancer. Because the spread of breast cancer is often the cause of rapid hormonal changes, the drug therapy attempts to block certain receptors that can lead to cancer cell growth.

"This drug combination of Tykerb plus Femara provides women being treated for advanced breast cancer with an important treatment option," said Dr. Richard Pazdur of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

He added, "This entirely oral treatment regimen works by targeting…hormone receptors, thereby slowing the cancer cell's ability to grow or spread rapidly."

The FDA approval followed a study in which patients receiving the drug combination went about 35 weeks before their cancer progressed, compared to 13 weeks for women on other drug treatments, Reuters reports.

According to the American Cancer Society, 95 percent of breast cancer diagnoses are made in women over age 40.
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