Breast cancer trials conference highlights new drugs
This year the Australian New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZ BCTG) combined its 2010 Annual Scientific meeting with COSA (Clinical Oncological Society of Australia) in early November in Melbourne, Australia.
Libby Burgess, BCAC chair, attended this conference as a member of IMPACT, the programme for Improving Participation and Advocacy for Clinical Trials associated with ANZ BCTG’s Consumer Advisory Panel (CAP).
As always this meeting provided an excellent opportunity to network and Libby met up with many of the New Zealand and Australian oncologists, breast surgeons, physicians and nurses with whom BCAC communicates on a regular basis.
Conference highlights included sessions on young women and breast cancer, survivorship issues and advanced breast cancer, as well as a plenary lecture by the dynamic international guest speaker Dr Edith Perez, a leading researcher on HER2 positive breast cancer.
Dr Perez presented five-year followup data from the N9831 clinical trial that demonstrates an advantage of Herceptin given at the same time as chemotherapy rather than after it .She also reported that a new drug currently being trialled, trastuzumabDM1 (TDM1), is a promising future agent against HER2 positive breast cancer.
TDM1 is a “Trojan horse” molecule combining Herceptin with a chemotherapy drug (DM1) that disrupts cell division, growth and functioning. As Herceptin is an antibody that targets only HER2 positive tumours it directs the chemo drug only to the cancer, resulting in reduced DM1 toxicity to healthy cells and fewer sideeffects.
Libby was delighted to learn that the ANZ BCTG surgeons are forming an Oncoplastic Interest Group to admit and promote surgeons who are skilled in breast and reconstructive surgery.
She says It is hugely important that we receive high quality breast cancer surgery and this group will be working to ensure breast surgeons are well trained and capable of delivering the highest quality of care.