From Prasad R. Kudalkar, MD, medical oncologist and hematologist

January 23, 2020

Cancer researchers at OHC are offering new hope for patients with advanced breast cancer that has not responded to current treatment options or is inoperable.

Sometimes the cells in a breast have a gene that has been altered, called a mutation. This mutation can cause the cells to develop into cancer. One of the most commonly known gene mutations is the BRCA gene. Another mutation is the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and at OHC, we are evaluating a drug that may stop it from causing advanced breast cancer to spread.

FGFRs cause cancer to grow and spread. The drug pemigatinib is designed specifically to block the FGFRs from doing their work to grow cancer cells. In our continued quest to find the most advanced treatment for cancer patients, our clinical research team has chosen to participate in a clinical trial that will determine if pemigatinib could block FGFR mutations in breast cancer and so we can offer patients early access to this treatment.

Pemigatinib has demonstrated success with other cancers with the FGFR mutation. Therefore, it looks to be promising for patients with advanced metastatic breast cancer that hasn’t responded to other treatments or is inoperable. We’re optimistic that this could become another treatment for these patients who may be running out of options.

The drug’s manufacturer reported positive overall response and survival rates when pemigatinib was used for patients with advanced cholangiocarcinoma, a cancer that begins in the bile ducts that has a poor prognosis and no standard of care beyond first-line chemotherapy. Based on that success, OHC is evaluating pemigatinib for breast cancer through its nationally-recognized clinical trials program.

Each day, we learn more and more about genetics and how mutations can cause cancer. At OHC, we’re taking it a step further by testing the drugs that have been developed to stop the mutations from causing cancer to grow.

It’s moments like this when I feel as though I’m witnessing what will become another milestone in the treatment of cancer. This is why I love working at OHC. We aren’t reading about these advancements. We’re an active participant in them. We are contributing to what will probably be known later as the beginning of finding a cure.

OHC has been using personalized treatments like pemigatinib for more than 20 years and continues to lead the region in providing patients with early access to the latest treatments through its clinical trials program. To learn more about the FGFR solid tumor clinical trial at OHC, or to request a second opinion, please visit here and click Solid Tumors.

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