New therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer developed

July 26, 2011

Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer may soon have an alternative therapy when they develop resistance to trastuzumab, also known as Herceptin, according to a laboratory finding published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Jacek Capala, Ph.D., D.Sc., an investigator at the National Cancer Institute, and colleagues designed, produced and tested HER2-Affitoxin, a novel protein that combines HER2-specific affibody molecules and a modified bacterial toxin, PE38.

"Unlike the current HER2-targeted therapeutics, such as Herceptin, this protein does not interfere with the HER2 signaling pathway but, instead, uses HER2 as a target to deliver a modified form of specifically to the HER2-positive . When cells absorb the toxin, it interferes with and, thereby, kills them," said Capala.

At least, that is what happened in Capala's laboratory. After Affitoxin was injected into tumor-bearing mice, even relatively large, aggressive tumors stopped growing and most of them disappeared. The effect was strong enough that Capala believes it warrants a clinical trial.

"Herceptin has revolutionized the treatment of patients with HER2-positive , but a significant number of tumors acquire resistance to the drug," said Capala. "Affitoxin could offer another therapeutic option for those patients whose tumors no longer respond to Herceptin."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.