WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved a first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones.
The drug Kadcyla from Roche combines the established drug Herceptin with a powerful chemotherapy drug and a third chemical linking the medicines together. The chemical keeps the cocktail intact until it binds to a cancer cell, delivering a potent dose of anti-tumor poison.
Cancer researchers say the drug is an important step forward because it delivers more medication while reducing the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy.
"This antibody goes seeking out the tumor cells, gets internalized and then explodes them from within. So it's very kind and gentle on the patients - there's no hair loss, no nausea, no vomiting," said Dr. Melody Cobleigh of Rush University Medical Center. "It's a revolutionary way of treating cancer."
This undated image provided by Roche on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013 shows a vial and packaging for the drug Kadcyla. On Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the approval of the first-of-a-kind breast cancer medication that targets tumor cells while sparing healthy ones. (AP Photo/Roche)