New Study Results Bring Hope to Patients with Metastatic HER2-positive Breast Cancer

Breakthrough Study Led by Rethink Breast Cancer Board Member

TORONTO, June 4, 2012 /CNW/ - Today Rethink Breast Cancer (Rethink) celebrates new study results that bring hope to the more than 5,000 Canadian women living with HER2-positive breast cancer. The study, led by Dr. Sunil Verma, Medical Oncologist at Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre and Rethink Board Member, showed promising results for a new treatment for patients living with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (mBC).

"We've seen first-hand the devastating impact that HER2-positive breast cancer can have on young women and their families, and have lost many vibrant members of our community to this disease," says MJ DeCoteau, Executive Director, Rethink. "We're excited to see such strong data to support a treatment that can help women with HER2-positive breast cancer, and are committed to working with the Canadian breast cancer community to ensure this treatment is available to the young Canadian women who need it. We congratulate Dr. Sunil Verma and the global study team for their breakthrough work."

The results, presented yesterday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference, are from a Phase III clinical trial that studied a treatment called T-DM1 (trastuzumab emtansine). The EMILIA Trial investigated a novel drug T-DM1 versus standard of care therapy with capecitabine and lapatinib in women with advanced HER2-positive breast cancer.

T-DM1 is an antibody-drug conjugate where the chemotherapy is linked to the antibody Herceptin and allows for a more targeted delivery of chemotherapy right to the cancer cell along with the targeted efficacy of Herceptin. Along with the safety and efficacy results, the quality of life benefits this drug could bring to women with HER2-positive breast cancer are very promising.

"These data are a significant advance in the treatment of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer," says Dr. Verma, senior author of the EMILIA Trial. "The efficacy and quality of life results from the study demonstrate that trastuzumab emtansine is efficacious and well-tolerated. This drug allows for a new way to deliver chemotherapy in a targeted manner to the cancer cells. This is the first time such an approach has been shown to be effective in cancer patients and opens up a novel strategy to develop new drugs that combine targeted drugs along with chemotherapy."

Rethink is dedicated to responding to the unique needs of young women with breast cancer, and has created a number of programs and resources to help the 20 per cent of patients living with HER2-positive breast cancer. About Her, a feature documentary produced by Rethink (and directed by Phyllis Ellis) tells the inspiring stories of nine Canadian women diagnosed with HER-2 positive breast cancer, and showcases the challenges faced by women living with this type of cancer., a social network created by Rethink, connects and supports Canadian women touched by HER2-positive breast cancer.

About Rethink Breast Cancer
By taking a breakthrough approach to all aspects of breast cancer, we are thinking differently about how to beat breast cancer. Our mission is to continuously pioneer cutting edge breast cancer research, education and support that speaks fearlessly to the needs of young women.

SOURCE Rethink Breast Cancer

For further information:

Allen Braude
Manager, Communications and PR
416.920.0980 ext 263

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