New hope for breast cancer patients


Written on Monday, January 08, 2007 by Gemini

Women affected by breast cancer have new hope in the form of a nanotechnology-based drug that promises early identification and effective treatment of the disease. “Researchers have been working on finding new ways that could help patients fight breast cancer. Nanotechnology is the latest, which could bring a revolution,” said Harsh Dua, senior consultant in the Oncology Department at the Apollo Hospital. He said researchers in India are now able to develop a drug that is “more effective and comparatively more safer.”

The drug, a “nanoparticle formulation” of the anti-cancer drug Paclitaxel, promises new hope to thousands of breast cancer patients. In India, at 1.4 lakh, cervical cancer is the most widely reported. This is followed by cancers of the breast (80,000) and mouth (70,000). The drug would be injected into the patient during treatment, Dua said. “The nanoparticles in the drug shows preference for the tumour cell and chalks its own course. This helps because the other good cells are not affected and thus there are no side-effects,” he said.

The oncologist, who has been actively involved in the work, claimed the drug could be used to target any kind of cancer, but could prove more effective to combat breast cancer. “The drugs that are in the market currently have lot of side-effects like affecting the heart, damaging the nerve and depressing the blood count. But this drug has no such side-effects,” Dua said.

Describing breast cancer as a lifestyle disease, Dua believes that research activities in the country are the only way to bring the cost of the drugs down. “Cancer treatment is costly,” he said “The early advance in technology counts a lot. If it could cure one to two per cent of the cancer population. It will be wonderful.”

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