PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A first-of-its-kind breast cancer treatment is being applauded by doctors. The drug might also be able to be used to treat other cancers someday.
A big cancer meeting ended Tuesday with several potential breakthroughs, including a new treatment for metastatic breast cancer.READ MORE: Pennsylvania House Sets Up Committee To Consider Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner's Impeachment
Even before receiving FDA approval, doctors will be able to use it for some patients.
There’s new hope for women with advanced breast cancer — a drug called Enhertu, according to a study released at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.
“It received a standing ovation at ASCO, which you don’t see very often,” said Dr. Melissa McShane with Fox Chase Cancer Center.
Dr. McShane says she immediately thought of women she’s treating who might benefit.
“These patients who don’t have many options left,” she said.READ MORE: Amazon, Rite Aid Cap Purchase Of Emergency Contraceptives
Enhertu is designed for patients with what’s called HER2-low breast cancer. It targets a protein that drives tumor growth.
“It’s a specific type of drug that I explain to patients mostly as a chemo bomb. What it does is brings targeted chemotherapy directly to HER2 positive cells,” McShane said.
In the trial of 557 patients, Enhertu extended lives by six months compared with standard chemo and improved survival, reducing the risk of death by 36%.
“It’s massive. It’s an amazing result,” McShane said.
There were some significant side effects linked to Enhertu, and a cost of $14,00o a month, which is usually covered by insurance.
Also from the ASCO meeting, new research says after surgery, some cancer patients can safely skip radiation or chemotherapy.MORE NEWS: 21-Year-Old Woman Killed After Disgruntled Patron Fires At Least 15 Shots Into Northeast Philadelphia Bar, Police Say
Different studies looked at patients with low-risk colon and breast cancer and found post-surgical treatments weren’t always necessary.