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FDA approves breast cancer drug

Published: Thursday, Aug. 27 2015 6:15 p.m. MDT

In this April 19, 2011 file photo, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announces new prescription drug safety measures and a plan to fight prescription drug abuse, at the National Press Club in Washington. The FDA recently approved a new cancer medication that would be used to treat about 20 percent of cancer cases. (Associated Press) In this April 19, 2011 file photo, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announces new prescription drug safety measures and a plan to fight prescription drug abuse, at the National Press Club in Washington. The FDA recently approved a new cancer medication that would be used to treat about 20 percent of cancer cases. (Associated Press)

The FDA recently approved a new cancer medication that would be used to treat about 20 percent of cancer cases, The New York Times reported.

"The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a new type of drug that combines the widely used breast cancer medicine Herceptin with a powerful toxin to more effectively kill cancer cells while potentially reducing side effects.

"The drug, which will be called Kadcyla but was known as T-DM1 during its development, extended the median survival of women with advanced breast cancer by nearly half a year in a clinical trial.

"Genentech, which developed the drug, said it would cost about $9,800 a month, or $94,000 for a typical course of treatment. That is about twice the price of Herceptin itself, which is also made by Genentech, but it is similar to the price of some other new cancer drugs. It is approved for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, about 20 percent of cases.

"Kadcyla is one of the first successful examples of a new class of drug that link toxins to proteins known as monoclonal antibodies. The antibodies latch onto tumors and deliver the toxic payload. Because the toxin is not activated until it reaches the tumor, some side effects are avoided."

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