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New drug extends the lives of breast cancer patients by 16 months

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A new drug that was developed by Roche has been found to extend the lives of patients with an aggressive form of breast cancer by an unprecedented amount of time, according to the Swiss company, a very positive move for Roche as patents on a key oncology drug approach expiry.

The Basel-based pharmaceutical company said that HER2-positive breast cancer patients who have taken Perjeta alongside Herceptin, another Roche drug, as well as chemotherapy were able to survive for 15.7 months longer than patients who received just Herceptin and chemotherapy.

“Adding Perjeta to treatment with Herceptin and chemotherapy resulted in the longest survival observed to date in a clinical study of people with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer,” Doctor Sandra Horning, Roche’s chief medical officer and the head of the company’s product development, said in a statement. She said the survival results were “a magnitude of improvement we rarely see in clinical trials in advanced cancer.”

“The survival improvement of nearly 16 months … is unprecedented among studies of metastatic breast cancer,” lead researcher Sandra Swain from the Washington Hospital Center told the European Society for Medical Oncology annual congress on Sunday. “We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Read more about the story at The New York Times.

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