Advertisement

Breast cancer breakthrough as new drug described as ‘life-changing’

Stock image of breast cancer scan  (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Stock image of breast cancer scan (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A major breast cancer charity has said a new treatment will give “life-changing hope” to patients suffering from the disease.

Breast Cancer Now said the approval of cancer treatment Trastuzumab deruxtecan ushered an “exciting new era” of treatment.

It is among four different cancer treatments approved for use by NHS Scotland in the latest round of decisions from the Scottish Medicines Consortium.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chief executive of the charity, said: “This decision ushers in an exciting new era of treatment for people with HER2-low incurable secondary breast cancer in Scotland – providing for the first time an effective HER2-targeted treatment for this group of patients.

“Crucially, for eligible patients trastuzumab deruxtecan (Enhertu) can both slow the spread of the cancer and increase survival compared to chemotherapy, bringing people the life-changing hope of more time to live and do the things that matter most to them.”

Stock photo of woman checking for breast cancer symptoms (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Stock photo of woman checking for breast cancer symptoms (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Trastuzumab deruxtecan, also known as Enhertu, is used to treat adults with a type of breast cancer called HER2-low and is the first medicine to be licensed for this type of breast cancer, the SMC said.

The consortium accepted seven medicines for conditions including breast, skin, lung and prostate cancers as well as for psoriasis, arthritis and Pompe disease, a rare genetic disorder.

SMC chairman Dr Scott Muir said: “The committee is pleased to be able to accept seven new medicines for a variety of conditions, including breast, skin, lung and prostate cancers.

“The additional evidence for cemiplimab, provided by the company and the lived experience shared via the Patient and Clinician Engagement (Pace) meeting, reassured the committee that cemiplimab is a valuable treatment for patients.

“Trastuzumab deruxtecan is more effective than current treatments and could increase the amount of time people will be able to spend with loved ones. We know how important this is to people with breast cancer and their families.”

Patricia Snow, 66, from the Highlands, was diagnosed with HER2-low secondary breast cancer six years ago, in December 2017.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled by today’s news. I have a two-year-old grandson and my hope is that I live long enough for him to remember his granny.”