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Health.com: 9 Big Breast Cancer Breakthroughs for 2013

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Game-Changing Medications

Kadcyla is one of the most exciting drugs in cancer care because it works like a smart bomb: It delivers chemo straight to the cancer cells and spares the healthy bystanders," says Erica Mayer, MD, a breast oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Designed for women with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer (a type in which the cancer cells make too much of a protein known as HER2/neu) that has grown despite treatments with chemotherapy and a traditional medication called Herceptin, Kadcyla "extends lives and decreases chemotherapy-related side effects, such as diarrhea and rashes," Dr. Mayer says. Meanwhile, in April the FDA named a new drug—palbociclib—a "breakthrough therapy," thanks to a recent study in which it helped improve progression-free survival by 18 months in women with advanced ER-positive, HER2-negative cancer compared with standard chemotherapy alone.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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