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GSK drug decreases tumourigenic breast cancer cells

GlaxoSmithKline that a prospective study into lapatinib revealed that it decreases tumourigenic stem cells in primary breast cancers
GlaxoSmithKline that a prospective study into lapatinib revealed that it decreases tumourigenic stem cells in primary breast cancers.

Results from the study showed that lapatinib lead to significant regression of primary tumours in ErbB2 over-expressing breast cancer. The agent has been developed for use in women with breast cancer receiving neo-adjuvant treatment and trial data was presented at 6th European Breast Cancer Conference.

Dr Jenny Chang, medical director of the Breast Cancer Centre, associate professor of medicine at Baylor College in Houston, Texas and lead investigator of the study, said: "The results of this study are exciting."

"New therapies that decrease or inhibit the action of these stem cells are vitally important - if these precursors to tumour formation are not targeted, in essence any subsequent treatments are of limited value," she added.

Currently available in the US, Australia, and many other counties, and known by its brand name Tyverb, lapatinib is not commercially available in the EU. The Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use (CHMP) gave lapatinib a positive opinion and recommended a conditional marketing authorisation in December 2007. GSK is hopeful that the European Commission will follow suit.

Dr Steven Stein, vice-president of the oncology development centre at GSK, said: "We are encouraged by the data from the study and are committed to further investigations."

"These data have gone some way towards answering a number of questions in current breast cancer knowledge," he added.

21st April 2008

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