AstraZeneca’s Enhertu Drug Offers Hope for Cancer Cure

IMG Source: Wyoming Department of Health

MANILA, Philippines – AstraZeneca reported on Feb. 21, 2022 that its Enhertu cancer drug, jointly developed with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo, showed significantly positive results in improving progression-free and overall survival of patients with HER2-low metastatic breast cancer.

HER2 or human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 is a protein found on the surface of many types of tumours (including breast, gastric, lung and colorectal cancers) and promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Enhertu is a HER2-directed antibody drug conjugate (ADC), designed using Daiichi Sankyo’s proprietary DXd ADC Technology, which bind specifically to tumour cells and release cell-killing chemicals.

Based on its Phase III trial of DESTINY-Breast04, Enhertu exhibited prolonged survival and slowed the progression of unresectable and/or metastatic breast cancer with low levels of HER2.

In a statement by AstraZeneca, it said that Enhertu demonstrated superior progression free survival in previously treated patients compared to the standard-of-care chemotherapy, meeting the research’s primary endpoint successfully.

Currently, the study is only conducted on low-HER2 patients with life-threatening tumours that have spread to other parts of the body.

However, with the positive trial read-out, the future use of Enhertu for patients at the earlier stages of the disease will accommodate hundreds of thousands of eligible patients per year.

AstraZeneca said it would reach out to regulatory agencies to enable a speedy review of a wider use for the drug.

 “Breast cancer is the most common cancer and is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. More than two million cases of breast cancer were diagnosed in 2020 resulting in nearly 685,000 deaths globally,” AstraZeneca’s research said.

In line with this, the British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company stated, “Driven by a growing understanding of breast cancer biology, AstraZeneca is starting to challenge, and redefine, the current clinical paradigm for how breast cancer is classified and treated to deliver even more effective treatments to patients in need – with the bold ambition to one day eliminate breast cancer as a cause of death.”

Also indicated in the company’s press release is that a comprehensive development program is in the works to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Enhertu monotherapy for other multiple HER2-targetable cancers including breast, gastric, lung and colorectal cancers. 

Sources: AstraZeneca Reuters

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