An experimental drug halts cancer for months in first readout

An experimental drug halts cancer for months in first readout

An experimental cancer drug developed by AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo kept metastatic breast cancer at bay for months in women who had exhausted other treatment options, its first clinical study showed, Reuters reports.


Patients on trastuzumab deruxtecan, also known as DS-8201, who had already undergone roughly six prior treatment courses, were saw no further progression for a median of 16.4 months.


Jose Baselga, AstraZeneca’s head of oncology research and development, said this patient group would normally encounter further cancer deterioration after about six months.


This is a totally unprecedented clinical benefit,” he said of the so-called antibody-drug conjugate, which links powerful cell toxins to antibodies that cling to cancer cells, sparing the healthy ones that would be damaged in normal chemotherapy.


The study dubbed DESTINY-Breast01 is the first of an envisaged 28 trials with trastuzumab deruxtecan.


Later trials will tackle breast cancer in earlier lines of treatment and also lung and gastric cancer.


“If this benefit is observed in this line of therapy I think that this drug can be incredibly beneficial in patients with earlier disease,” said Baselga.


Baselga added that as patients exhaust treatment options each new approach - or line of treatment - that is tried normally brings a lower clinical benefit than the one before.


Daiichi and AstraZeneca, which said in May that the main goal of the trial had been met, have already put in a request for approval with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.