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U of M looks to new breast cancer drug to propel current research

Douglas Yee, M.D., a University of Minnesota Physicians breast cancer specialist and director of the Masonic Cancer Center appeared on Fox 9 earlier this week to discuss a new drug that combats breast cancer in its earliest stages, a major milestone for researchers and patients alike.

The FDA recently gave a positive review for the drug, Perjeta by Roche, which could soon be the first pre-surgery pharmaceutical option for women.

“Perjeta is a drug that has already been approved for women with advanced breast cancer,” said Yee. “Now the FDA is considering the use of Perjeta for women who have the treatment prior to surgery.”

Scientists involved with FDA testing found that women who were given the drug had a greater chance of being cancer-free by the date of their surgery than other women who were given traditional drug combinations.

The University of Minnesota is currently participating in a clinical trial called I-SPY 2 for women who have large tumors and are receiving chemotherapy as well as these types of drugs not yet approved by the FDA.

“We’re hoping we can shorten the time where these new drugs come forward and are used in a larger number of women,” said Yee.

Though Perjeta is only effective for about 20-25 percent of all breast cancer, Yee hopes a combination of future U of M research and the drug will lead to helping all women with the disease.

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