Breast cancer is one of the most common ailments among women.It is the second most dangerous cause of cancer death after the lung cancer.However, since 1989 the treatment has been on constant improvement because of the screening technology.Proof of this is that in the USA alone there already are about three million breast cancer survivors.
As of September 2017, more than two hundred thousand cases of new breast cancer diagnosis have been reported, and more than forty thousand women have died of breast cancer.Its symptoms include thickening of the breast (lump) and the nipple changing its appearance.The disease risk factors include;
• lifestyle factors such as alcohol intake,
• dense breast tissues,
• estrogen exposure and breastfeeding,
• body weight, and
• hormone treatments.
Although there are several ways of treating this dreadful disease, some types of breast cancer are untreatable.However, thousands of women with the incurable breast cancer can now have new hope after the introduction of two new drugs into the market.The drugs (ribociclib and palbociclib) which have been approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for use in England will significantly help in the treatment of this disease.
The drugs have been tested and have shown that they reduce the advancement of cancer by ten months and can delay the need for chemotherapy enabling women to live their normal healthy life. The Institute of Cancer Research has confirmed that the two drugs are brand new and they work in a similar fashion.The research institution stated that this is a breakthrough in the control of cancer menace and it is a significant development for women with cancer in the last couple of decades.
The new draft by NICE came after a price negotiation deal for the medication; previously, it had rejected palbociclib because its prices were too high in relation to its effectiveness. In the draft, NICE outlined that women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer that had been diagnosed after the cancer cells had begun to spread will be fit to use the palbociclib.On the other hand, women who meet this condition and have undergone menopause will be fit to use ribociclib.
The new drug will be taken daily, and there will be a need to take them with aromatase inhibitors.This Inhibitor works by blocking the production of the hormone, estrogen which stops the hormones' ability to fuel breast cancer.The two types of drugs are the first of their kind that slows the progression of cancer by inhibiting two proteins called CDK 6 and 4.
It is estimated that around 8,000 people in England alone are expected to benefit from the treatment of the two drugs each year.Professor Carole Longson, the Director of Health Technology Evaluation at NICE stated that the fact that the medicines delay the progression of cancer for as long as possible and makes the cancer patients live a normal lifestyle is highly valued not only by the patients themselves but also by their family.The committee heard that by postponing the disease progression, the two drugs might reduce the number of people who have been exposed to the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy.
The committee also was pleased that the companies were able to agree on the reduction of the price of the two drugs, hence allowing them to be routinely available to people with this type of breast cancer.
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation, together with the ICR, led the clinical trial into palbociclib.The trial was conducted by the professor of molecular oncology at the ICR and a consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden, Nicholas Turner.Professor Turner said that the development of this new cancer drug is one of the breakthroughs for women with advanced cancer in the last two decades.
He added that the trials of the two drugs have made a significant difference to the women's lives and have slowed down tumor growth for almost a year, hence delaying the need for having chemotherapy with all its known side effects.This has achieved a great milestone, given that in England, there are around 45,000 new diagnoses of breast cancer every year.
Administration of the drug
The drug will be offered with positive hormone receptors, HER2 negative locally advanced breast cancer, and those who have not yet received any other treatment options.
The standard price for one cycle of ribociclib is 2,950 euros for 63 tablets while for palbociclib, it will also be priced at 2,950 euros for 21 pills.However, because of some complaints from the clients, the health regulator has agreed on some discounts for both of the drugs.Once health officials have approved a drug in England, those living in Wales may as well follow suit and use them.
The chief executive at the charity Breast Cancer, Baroness Delyth Morgan, praised the new development and said that it is a life-changing and a long-awaited step in the treatment for patients with breast cancer.He added that it offers thousands of women the closest thing they would need for the cure in their lifetime.She added that thousands of women would be given an extra precious time with their loved ones before the cancer progresses.