Brittle bone drug could halt breast cancer

Cheap drug could halt spread of breast cancer

A drug that is used to treat brittle bones can also stop the spread of breast cancer, say scientists.

The cheap drug, zoledronic acid, was combined with a commonly used chemotherapy drug and scientists found the tumours stopped growing. The cancer also stopped spreading after the treatment had finished.

Researchers now believe that combining the two drugs could be more beneficial at fighting the disease than any previous drug combination.

The brittle bone drug is also much cheaper than the breast cancer wonder drug, Herceptin, at under £1,000 per year of treatment.

As both the chemo drug, doxorubicin and zoledronic acid are already widely used, scientist believe the treatment could be approved to use within two years.

The drug combination is now set to be tested on 3,000 women in the UK and the results will be released in six months.

Lead researcher Professor Robert Coleman said: ‘It would be a very substantial breakthrough. It is a completely new approach to treatment. It is relatively simple. It is not particularly unpleasant and it could also be applied to other cancers.’

However tests of the drug combination have so far only been carried out on mice. Dr Joanna Peak, of Cancer Research UK, said: ‘The benefits of giving zoledronic acid after doxorubicin have only been shown here in mice and now need to be evaluated more fully in people with breast cancer.’

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