'Remarkable' therapy beats terminal breast cancer

'Remarkable' therapy beats terminal breast cancer

A woman with advanced breast cancer which had spread around her body has been completely cleared of the disease by a groundbreaking therapy that harnessed the power of her immune system to fight the tumours.

The study was centered on a 21-gene test performed on tumors that has been available for breast cancer patients since the early 2000s.

"The impact is tremendous", study leader, Dr. Joseph Sparano of Montefiore Medical Center in NY, told the Associated Press.

But an immune breakthrough for bowel, breast and ovary cancer has remained elusive.

"I think this is a very significant advance", said Dr Larry Norton, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY.

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.

Using the breast cancer test, which looks at the activity of genes, the test found that more women with lower scores will not require chemotherapy.

"Part of the excitement is because all cancers contain mutations, it's a technique that could potentially be applied to any tumor type", Rosenberg said.

When she was selected for the trial in 2015, the Florida woman "had tennis ball-sized tumours in her liver and secondary cancers throughout her body".

In addition, a recent study says chemo does not improve survival, that most women can be safely treated with just surgery and hormone blockers.

"We have been using Oncotype DX for some years now among women in tumours that are less than 4 cm with no axillary lymph nodes, estrogen progesterone receptor positive and HER 2 new negative".

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Previous trials involving cancer immunotherapy have found that it "tends to work spectacularly for some patients, but the majority do not benefit", the BBC reports.

The trial results are the latest piece of the puzzle on how to treat early-stage breast cancer.

They also have a score between 11 and 25 on the Oncotype DX Breast Recurrence Score test, a test that measures cancer recurrence.

A patient's tumour is genetically analysed to identify the rare changes that might make the cancer visible to the immune system.

As of January 2018, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. This includes women now being treated and women who have finished treatment.

"We now know based on the evidence that came out depending on the patient's age there's maybe no benefit to chemo therapy do just as well live as long a life with endocrine therapy", Figueredo said.

Patients with a recurrence score of up to ten out of 100 have previously been shown not to benefit from chemotherapy and need only hormone treatment.

"I will explain that's why research is so important in helping us move forward in breast cancer care that's how we will achieve a cure for breast cancer", Figueredo said.

These are the results from a single patient and much larger trials will be needed to confirm the findings.

Stefanie Joho, who was diagnosed with colon cancer at 22, has been in remission since February 2016, thanks to an immunotherapy drug that targets a genetic mutation. This difference was present in most breast cancer subtypes but most notable in triple-negative breast cancer, which is three times more likely to develop in African-Americans than whites.

After enrolling for new trial in 2015, doctors in the United States adopted an experimental approach combining two different forms of immunotherapy after conventional hormone treatments and chemotherapy failed.

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