Saturday 16 December 2017

Irish patients sought to test new breast cancer drug

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Hospitals across Ireland are set to test a new drug which doctors hope will decrease the chance of breast cancer recurring.

Cancer Trials Ireland is looking for 50 patients to take part in the investigation which will try the drug palbociclib.

The trial will run in six Irish hospitals; Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Waterford and in Dublin, the Mater, Beaumont, St James’s and St Vincent’s.

Palbociclib was recently used in a trial among patients with advanced breast cancer.

The published results show that it reduced the rate of cancer growth by up to 42pc when compared to standard hormone therapy alone.

Patients interested in taking part are being asked to contact their medical oncologist.

Dr Patrick Morris, Consultant Medical Oncologist at Beaumont Hospital and Co-Chair of the Breast Group of Cancer Trials Ireland, is the trial’s principal investigator for Ireland.

He says the drug is not yet available to patients with early stage breast cancer outside a trial setting and hopes that the results will prove successful.

“No new drugs have been developed for early stage breast cancer for a number of years.

“In the last decade our research has focused on different durations and combinations of available hormone therapy.

 “Given these impressive results for advanced breast cancer, we are tremendously excited about investigating its potential in early stage breast cancer.

“This new drug is not yet available to patients with early stage breast cancer outside a trial setting so we are delighted that Irish participants will have access to the trial.

The primary treatment for patients with early stage breast cancer can involve a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and/or radiotherapy.

The PALLAS trial will test whether the new drug palbociclib used in combination with the standard forms of therapy will produce better results than the current standard anti-hormone therapy alone.

It is expected that the trial will last ten years.

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