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Sea sponge drug “in cancer boost”


Breast cancer patients who took an experimental drug made from sea sponges had their lives extended by about two and a half months on average, new research has reported.

The sufferers, whose cancer had returned despite several round of chemotherapy, had months added to their lives while using Eisai’s eribulin during a Phase III trial of the drug in US Food and Drug Administration testing. Priority review for approval of the drug has now been given.

An international team, including Dr Christopher Twelves of St James Hospital in Leeds, studied 762 breast cancer patients who had different types of tumours and had been through at least two rounds of chemotherapy.

Two-thirds of the patients received eribulin along with standard treatment, usually with one other chemotherapy drug but occasionally with just supportive care to treat pain and other symptoms, while the remaining women got either more chemotherapy or supportive care.

Making a presentation to the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, the researchers said the eribulin patients lived a median of 13 months, compared to just under 11 months for those in the other treatment group.

Copyright Press Association 2010


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