Could a New Cancer Drug Help Treatments?

A new study suggests that the drug, known as BMN 673, which has been created to help patients with faults in their BRCA genes is showing substantial improvements in its development. In a trial based on 70 patients, researchers found signs of excellent anti-tumour activity, whilst also establishing that the drug was suitable for further testing under different circumstances to see how effective it is. 23 of 28 ovarian cancer patients and 12 of the 18 breast cancer patients’ conditions improved following the treatment, in studies carried out by the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago. In 11 of the ovarian and 7 of the breast cancer patients, researchers noticed that there were noticeable lesions and cracks on the side of the tumours – these side effects show that the treatment was working, which is a positive sign for the development of the drug.


Previous studies have shown that mutations in the BRCA genes are rare overall, only affecting one in every 800 to 1,000. However, they increase the risk of certain cancers developing, including breast and ovarian. Healthy BRCA genes generally suppress these cancer cells from growing, but mutations can stop this from happening naturally. Cancer Research UK believes that women who carry the faulty BRCA genes have between a 45 and 90 percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime – Angelina Jolie has recently brought this subject to the fore, having chosen to undergo a double mastectomy after doctors advised that she had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer, and a 50 percent chance of ovarian cancer. Researchers hope that the drug’s effectiveness in the trial could offer hope for patients. Patients with germ line BRCA-associated tumours currently have no treatment options, and these need to be developed quickly.

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