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Targeted Treatment Could Pause Womb Cancer Growth

Update Date: Oct 01, 2014 09:07 AM EDT

A drug which targets a key gene fault could pause an aggressive womb cancer and shrink tumors, according to a new study. 

Researchers showed that the drug afatinib not just killed off uterine serious cancer cells after stopping their growth but also caused tumors to shrink. 

 The drug, a type of personalized medicine, attacks faults in the HER2 gene which lie at the heart of the cancer cells. This stops the disease in its tracks. Drugs which target HER2 are already used to treat breast cancer, the press release added. 

Uterine serous carcinoma is a fast-growing type of womb cancer, which is more likely than other womb cancer to come back after treatment. 

According to reports, womb cancers accounts for 40 per cent of all death from womb cancer - which equals to around 800 deaths every year in the UK. 

"Our research uses the vast amount of genetic information now available to find ways to shake the foundations of cancer and stop the disease progressing," lead author Dr Carlton Schwab from the Division of Gynaecologic Oncology at the Yale School of Medicine, said in the press release. 

"We have shown similar results to early data of afatinib in non small cell lung cancer, which ultimately led to clinical trials and a shift in the way some of these cancers are treated. There could be real possibilities to make a difference for patients, and this study has laid the foundations for the development of clinical trials testing the drug in women whose cancers have this HER2 gene fault and don't respond to chemotherapy."

The study has been published in the British Journal of Cancer. 

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