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New breast cancer trial opens this week

It is expected that up to 34 patients will take part in the trial, which will be conducted over the next 2-3 years.

The trials are set to take place in Beaumont Hospital, St Vincent’s University Hospital, St. James’s Hospital, University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital at a cost of approximately €750,000.

Cancer Trials Ireland announced that the trial will test for the first time the use of the new drug copanlisib in combination with trastuzumab to treat advanced HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer which has progressed or recurred in patients during or following standard anti-HER2 treatment.

The trial is sponsored by Cancer Trials Ireland and supported by Bayer HealthCare AG.

Prof Bryan Hennessy, Clinical Lead, Cancer Trials Ireland said that copanlisib could help to reverse the resistance of some HER2+ breast cancers to trastuzumab (a commonly usedanti-HER2 treatment) and lead to a new therapy for advanced HER2+ breast cancer.

“It is known that HER2+ breast cancer can become resistant to current HER2 therapy,” he said

“We are now learning how this happens. The switching on of a pathway called the PI3K pathway in cancer cells is often responsible. One of the possible ways this happens is through mutations (changes) that occur in a gene called PIK3CA. Research studies that we have carried out at the laboratory level have suggested that blocking the abnormal activity of the PI3K pathway in cancer cells, may help to reverse the resistance of some HER2+ breast cancers to HER2 treatments including trastuzumab.”

To find out more about the trial and their suitability, patients should ask their doctor or healthcare professional. Information on other cancer trials is available at www.cancertrials.ie .

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