Atlanata, GA 5/10/12 (StreetBeat) – The battle against breast cancer looks to be getting a few more weapons in its arsenal in the future. Swiss drug giant Roche took a shot in the arm in November of 2011 when the Food and Drug Administration revoked their Genentech unit’s Avastin as an indication for breast cancer, but Roche (OTCBB: RHHBY) is providing some promising research with their new pertuzumab drug in recent months. The experimental antibody is being used as an addition to Roche’s blockbuster breast cancer drug, Herceptin, and chemotherapy. The latest data shows that the new concoction can add six months to the lives of HER2-positive breast cancer patients. Herceptin, also known as tratuzumab, had 2010 global sales of $6.8 billion.
On the same front, other drug makers are providing optimistic results across the full range of research. Novartis's (NYSE:NVS) is developing Afinitor (everolimus) - which is already approved for other cancers - showed that treatment with it delays disease progression by four months among metastatic patients. Earlier on in development, Sunshine Biopharma(OTCBB:SBFM) is wrapping-up laboratories studies on Adva-27, a small molecule that targets and inhibits Top2, the second enzyme (HER-2 is the other) associated with aggressive forms of breast cancer. Also taking a step in the right direction helping to re-shape the treatments for breast cancer patients is Seattle, Washington-based TapImmune Inc. (OTCBB:TPIV).
A vaccine technology company, TapImmune received allowance from the FDA last year and recently got Institutional Review Board approval for a Phase I clinical trial to be hosted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Today, TapImmune told investors that the company-sponsored trial is set to begin to test its novel set of HER2/neu Class II antigens in breast cancer patients who finished standard Herceptin-based therapy and are at a high risk of disease recurrence.
As a result of what the company called an “overwhelming response” from patients expressing interest to be in the trial, TapImmune expects the trial to be fully subscribed. The primary endpoints of the study will be safety and immunogenicity - the ability of a particular substance, such as an antigen or epitope, to provoke an immune response in the body of a human or animal. Representing a significant milestone, this is the first clinical trial to be run to test TapImmune’s HER-2/neu vaccine program.
There are four companies with four different root targets for the treatment of breast cancer with each striving to generate revenue while providing a solution to a disease that took the life of approximately 40,000 women in 2011, with about 300,000 new cases diagnosed. Proper due diligence on each is, as always, encouraged.
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