According to Lindsay Rosenwald, the patient outcomes in breast cancer have seen dramatic improvements over the past decade. He credits this progress to earlier diagnosis, genetic screening and advances in targeted drug therapy. Lindsay Rosenwald states that a large and growing development stage pipeline exists for new targeted therapies.
Lindsay Rosenwald points out that a drug class has been created that will target cancers caused by BRCA mutations. BRCA mutations are those that come from the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. Harmful mutations in these particular genes produce a hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome in the affected individuals, says Lindsay Rosenwald.
The class of drugs is referred to as PARP inhibitors, says Lindsay Rosenwald. These PARP inhibitors have shown great promise in clinical trials treating prostate, ovarian and breast cancers that had proven resistant to other forms of treatment. Lindsay Rosenwald pays close attention to research studies that determine if PARP inhibitors can assist patients who don't possess BRCA mutations.
Targeted therapies are a relatively new method in the medical community, emphasizes Lindsay Rosenwald. They take advantage of any gene changes in cells shown to cause cancer. Lindsay Rosenwald believes that the industry will focus even more resources on these therapies in the next decade.
Several targeted therapies drugs specifically aimed at HER2 (known as Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2) are currently on the market, says Lindsay Rosenwald. These drugs include lapatinib (Tykerb), ado-trastuzumab emtansine (Kadcyla), pertuzumab (Perjeta) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). Other similar drugs are being formulated and tested across the country, explains Lindsay Rosenwald.
Lindsay Rosenwald has observed the progress of another targeted therapy: anti-angiogenesis drugs. In order for cancers to grow, the body's blood vessels must develop to feed and nourish the cancer cells. This process is known as angiogenesis, says Lindsay Rosenwald. Examining angiogenesis in breast cancer specimens can assist researchers in predicting prognosis.
Lindsay Rosenwald has read numerous research studies have discovered that breast cancers enveloped by many new blood vessels are likely to be even more aggressive. More research is required to confirm this, clarifies Lindsay Rosenwald.
One example of an anti-angiogenesis drug is Bevacizumab (Avastin), says Lindsay Rosenwald. Although it has not been helpful as an advanced breast cancer treatment, the approach may prove to be useful at earlier stages. Lindsay Rosenwald predicts that other drugs will continue to emerge due to new technologies and the innovative techniques of medical researchers.