Experimental immunotherapy treatment used to fight breast cancer

For some breast cancer patients, the chemo decision may now be easier

For some breast cancer patients, the chemo decision may now be easier

Women with early-stage breast cancer tend to have high survival rates, but their outlook worsens tremendously if the cancer returns to other parts of the body.

The experiment led to "complete durable regression" of the cancer that had spread to Judy Perkins' liver, the team said, writing in the journal Nature Medicine. It's a terrible part of life for most of us.

Researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute gave the experimental treatment, which has since been licensed to Gilead Sciences Inc.

It's not the first time breast cancer research has made headlines this week.

The results reflect a trend of moving away from chemo to treat cancer and, when it is used, it's for shorter periods at smaller doses.

Chemotherapy can be avoided for 70pc of women with the most common type of early stage breast cancer, the study found.

Sunday's results came from a federally sponsored trial called TailorX, which was created to help doctors more precisely tailor treatments for early-stage breast cancer.

The usual treatment is surgery followed by years of a hormone-blocking drug.

"If confirmed in a larger study, it promises to further extend the reach of this T-cell therapy to a broader spectrum of cancers".

The study was centered on a 21-gene test performed on tumors that has been available for breast cancer patients since the early 2000s. Almost 7,000 patients' scores fell into the middle range, between 11 and 25.

So the biggest unanswered questions involved women in the intermediate-risk category: Did chemo reduce their chance of recurrence? All had surgery and hormone therapy, and half also got chemo.

However, the response rate to even the most successful treatments is relatively low, with one recently trialled therapy showing strong effects in only around 10 per cent of prostate cancer patients.

During the study, the women were given a genetic test called Oncotype DX to determine their risk for cancer reoccurrence.

About 17 percent of the women tested had high-risk scores and were advised to have chemotherapy. Similar tests including one called MammaPrint also are widely used. "I eat healthy. What?'" said Robyn Tuttle, who is now cancer free.

This means thousands of women will be able to avoid all of the side effects chemotherapy implies, such as nausea, vomiting, hair loss and fatigue, while still achieving positive long-term outcomes.

A POTENTIAL cure for cancer may have been found in the USA after a woman suffering from an "incurable" breast cancer that had spread to some of her organs was cured of the killer illness.

This work showed "we are now at the cusp of a major revolution in finally realising the elusive goal of being able to target the plethora of mutations in cancer through immunotherapy", he wrote.

Tuttle said just having radiation was tough to go through and can't imagine going through chemo on top of it.

Adine Usher, 78, who lives in Hartsdale, N.Y., joined the study 10 years ago at Montefiore and was randomly assigned to the group given chemo. "I had given up fighting", Perkins said. "I spoke to four people about her case, including one of the doctors associated with the Tailorx trial", said Dr Ramesh Sarin, senior consultant surgical oncology at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals.

Jennifer Litton, an associate professor and oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, told USA Today that the results will help patients and their doctors make more informed decisions. "I'm a firm believer in medical research".

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