(Bangor, Maine) – Breast cancer is the second-most prevalent cancer in women, and it affects thousands of families in Maine each year. Starting this fall, EMMC Cancer Care will make available two clinical trials that may provide new hope to women who are battling the disease.
“These two new clinical trials may be appropriate for certain women who have HER2-positive breast cancer, a form of the disease that is more aggressive than other types,” says Thomas Openshaw, head of clinical research at EMMC Cancer Care. “About one in six women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have this form of the disease, which is characterized by the overproduction of a certain protein that makes cancer cells grow and divide at a faster rate.”
Both studies, known respectively as Katherine and FB7, explore the use of new targeted therapies that attack a certain protein found in genes. These targeted medications, which can be used in tandem with common chemotherapy drugs, destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Although they are effective only when certain genetic markers are present, studies have shown that targeted therapies have a high success rate in HER2-positive breast cancer patients.
“The prognosis for women with HER2-positive cancer was poor before the development of targeted agents for breast cancer,” adds Openshaw. “These trials aim to further improve the cure rate of this disease. We’re excited to be offering these trials, because not only may they be beneficial for many of the women who participate, they will ensure that women in our region who battle the disease in the future have access to new therapies and improved outcomes.”
Through its cancer research collaboration with EMMC, the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta is also participating in the Katherine trial.
Participants in these studies must meet several criteria. Anyone who is undergoing treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer or will begin treatment in the future can find out more about these trials by calling Ambie Hayes-Crosby, RN, CCRP, manager of Oncology Research at (207)973-4274.