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New Drug Targets Breast Cancer Cells



UCLA CTSI News Archive

Courtesy of Dikla Benzeevi

Dr. Sara Hurvitz of UCLA (left) stands with Dikla Benzeevi to honor her for 17 years of living with breast cancer.  

A new drug could be a game changer in the battle against breast cancer, a disease that's expected to be diagnosed in more than 265,000 Americans this year. It targets tumors with remarkable precision. 

Dikla Benzeevi, 49, has been living with breast cancer for 17 years. As the cancer spread to her lungs, she tried 15 different drugs. Last year, her doctors suggested she join a trial of a new therapy targeted specifically at Benzeevi's disease, HER2-positive breast cancer that's metastatic.

"There's no new tumors and it's staying stable, which is a good sign," Benzeevi said.

HER2 is a gene that results in aggressive breast cancer and occurs in about 20% of patients with metastatic disease. Targeted therapies like Herceptin often stop working as the cancer becomes resistant. 

Results of this trial were released at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The drug, for now labeled DS-8201, was tested in 184 patients. Tumors shrank in 61% of the patients, and disappeared in 6%.

See the full story and video from CBS Evening News. Benzeevi has been an active member of the CTSI Patient Advocacy Board since it was established in 2016.