Genentech drug looks promising in early breast-cancer trial

Tests of an experimental Genentech treatment are showing some early promise in advanced breast-cancer patients. In a Phase I study of the drug, dubbed GDC-0941, two of 97 subjects experienced "significant shrinkage" of tumors, reports AZ Central.

The drug targets the gene P13K, which is abnormal in 20% to 30% of advanced breast cancer patients. The trial volunteers had various forms of advanced cancer. Of the two subjects who showed positive results, one had cervical cancer and the other breast cancer. Side effects were mild.

GDC-0941 had already been run through a safety study in April, simultaneously with GDC-0973, which targets a different signaling pathway. "Combining agents that block multiple pathways in tumor cells is likely the future of targeted therapy in cancer medicine," said Channing Der, a University of North Carolina researcher.

The earlier Phase I simultaneous drug trial was intended to help the company decide whether to pursue one or both of the products. Genentech decided on both.

The GDC-0941 trial is being conducted at Scottsdale Healthcare's Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in partnership with the Translational Genomics Research Institute and in collaboration with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit.

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