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A Blood Test Could Reveal Drug Suitability

Mastectomy tops are essential for any breast cancer survivor’s wardrobe. As is staying on top of the latest clinical developments.

This week, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust revealed in the journal Nature Communications, they had discovered a test that can predict is a woman if responding to the new breast cancer drug palbociclib.

Previously women had to wait two or three months to find out if the drug was working. This new test checks for the presence of cancer DNA in the blood, and can reveal weeks earlier than before whether or not a woman should continue to take this drug.

“Having an early indication of how likely a treatment is to work might allow us to adapt treatment – switching some patients to an alternative drug that is more likely to benefit them,” said researcher Professor Nicholas Turner.

Researchers looked at women who had oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, which is the most common kind. Currently drug palbociclib was approved for use on the NHS by NICE for women with previously untreated advanced breast cancer in November 2017, making it a relatively new drug.

It delays cancer progression in patients who have advanced breast cancer, but isn’t suitable for everybody. Due to the urgency of treating women with advanced breast cancer, it is very important to be able to tell if a drug is working or if the patient would be better off using another one.

Hopefully this new test will help doctors and patients to make the best possible treatment decisions.

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