New drug to treat breast cancer’s metastasis developed by a team lead by Catalan scientists

The new drug, called ‘Eribulin’, improves the survival rate of patients with a metastasis from breast cancer by 20%. The drug has been developed by a multinational team lead by staff from Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital. The study has been published in the reference medical journal ‘The Lancet’.


March 3, 2011 09:04 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- Patients with metastasis from a breast cancer and being treated with ‘Eribulin’ have a 20% more chance of being cured, according to a study published in ‘The Lancet’ medical journal this week. The new drug is the first one that, without needing to be combined with others, improves the survival rate by 20%. In addition, it has a minor toxicity than other treatments used in chemotherapy. The drug is derived from a sea sponge species that can be found in Japan’s Pacific coast. The study was developed by a multinational team and lead by Catalan scientists from Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital. Several medical centres worked together; centres from the United States, Czech Republic, France, Russia, Belgium, Spain and the United Kingdom. The Head of the Programme on Breast Cancer of Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron Hospital, who is also the Director of the Vall d’Hebron Oncological Institute (VHIO), Doctor Javier Cortés lead the team.

According to the published study, the ‘Eribulin’ improves the survival rate of patients who have been treated with breast cancer with anthracycline and taxane and whose tumour developed metastasis. In addition, it improves their living condition as, since the new drug can be given without any other complementary drug, it reduces the treatment’s toxicity and thus the side effects.

The ‘Eribulin’ is an antimicrotubule (a chemotherapy drug) that blocks the cell division and forms toxic components for the tumour cells. The treatment foresees its implementing (once approved by the competent administrations) on advanced breast cancer patients who have been previously treated.

In November 2010, the North-American FDA approved its commercialisation in the US. It is expected that the European Medicines Agency will approve the drug this 2011. In Spain, each year, 24,000 new cases of breast cancers are diagnosed. Despite the fact that the illness prevalence increases, the mortality rate decreases. Experts think that the situation improvement is due to better treatments, pre-cautious detections and specialised multi discipline treatment units in hospitals.