Combination Drugs ‘Promising for Breast Cancer’

An experimental new treatment for breast cancer can dramatically shrink and in some cases eliminate tumors in mice that have been infected with the disease, a study released this week said.

The new therapy involves a combination of a chemotherapy drug, Taxotere (generic name docetaxel) and a novel compound called JMR-132, that starves the tumor of growth-stimulating hormone. The compound binds to receptors on the tumor, and in so doing blocks the release of the growth hormone.

Tested separately, the drug and the growth factor inhibitor were extremely effective at shrinking the tumors in mice infected with a hard-to-treat, estrogen-independent form of breast cancer.

On its own, the Taxotere reduced the volume of the mice tumors by an average of 74 percent in three weeks. In mice treated with JMR-132, the volume reduction was 63 percent.

Together, the two therapies reduced the volume of the cancerous cells by more than 97 percent. In some cases, when the researchers examined the dead mice, they could not find any cancer cells at all.

What’s more, the treatment did not appear to be toxic or trigger any other major side effects in the animals, suggesting it might be well-tolerated in humans, the researchers said.

Breast cancer is the most common malignancy among women in the Western world and ranks second as a cause of cancer-related deaths, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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