FDA Approves New Breast Cancer Treatment

A pharmacist holding a tray of pills, surrounded by prescription drug bottlesThe Food and Drug Administration has approved a breast cancer treatment: Kadcyla (kad-SY’-luh) is designed to target only the tumor cells, while leaving healthy cells intact.

Kadcyla, from Roche, is a combination of the drug Herceptin, a powerful chemotherapy drug, as well as a third chemical that links the two treatments together and keep everything intact until it can bind to the cancer cell.

Researchers say that Kadcyla may be superior to its predecessors because it delivers more potent treatment – with less side effects.

The FDA approved the new treatment for about 20 percent of breast cancer patients with a form of the disease that is typically more aggressive and less responsive to hormone therapy. These patients have tumors that overproduce a protein known as HER-2.

Kadcyla will cost $9,800 per month, compared to $4,500 per month for rHerceptin. The company estimates a full course of Kadcyla, about nine months of medicine, will cost $94,000.