Little Pill Offers New Hope in Breast Cancer Battle

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Thursday, Jun 25, 2009  |  Updated 9:42 AM CDT
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Little Pill Offers New Hope in Breast Cancer Battle

A new class of pills showing potential for shrinking otherwise inoperable tumors.

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Little Pill Offers New Hope in Breast Cancer Battle

Researchers are calling it a major breakthrough in the battle against breast cancer, a new class of pills showing potential for shrinking otherwise inoperable tumors.
More Photos and Videos

Researchers are calling it a major breakthrough in the battle against breast cancer, a new class of pills showing potential for shrinking otherwise inoperable tumors.

The treatment is showing promise especially in the fight against breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.

Dr. Cynthia Osborne calls it one of the biggest cancer treatment advances of her career.

“This is a huge step forward for us,” Osborne said.

She has been assisting with studies on the new class of anti-cancer pills called parp inhibitors.

“As a class of drugs, these are definitely going to change the face of breast cancer for certain types of breast cancer patients,” she said.

Two new studies suggest the drug kills cancerous tumors in patients genetically predisposed to developing cancer, patients with mutations in the BRCA 1 and 2 genes.
 
”These were very difficult to treat patients in the past, and now, I have an option besides standard chemotherapy,” she said. Osborne said unlike chemotherapy, the pills target only the cancerous cells and leave the healthy ones unharmed.
And while the studies so far have been small, the results have been anything but. Most patients saw their cancer stop, or start to go away.

Also encouraging, the new pills cause none of the side effects associated with chemotherapy like nausea, vomiting or hair loss.

Doctors said patients interested in trying this drug should seek out clinical trials.

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