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Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Hails FDA Approval of Treatment for Aggressive Form of Breast Cancer

Research Led by Komen Scholars is Major Step Forward in Personalized Treatment for Breast Cancer

DALLAS – February 22, 2013 –  Leaders of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer research organization, today hailed U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug referred to as a “smart bomb” against an aggressive form of the disease.

The FDA on Friday approved the Genentech drug Kadcyla for treatment of HER-2 positive breast cancer. Previously referred to as T-DM1, the drug will lead to “a new era in personalized medicine for aggressive forms of this disease,” said Chandini Portteus, vice president of research, evaluation and scientific programs for Komen.

“We’re especially gratified that research leading to this drug was performed by Komen Scholars, who are leading breast cancer researchers and clinicians who advise Komen’s research program,” Portteus said.

Groundbreaking research on T-DM1 was released last year by Komen Scholars Dr. Kimberly Blackwell of Duke University Medical School, Dr. Ian Krop of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Jose Baselga of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School. The research was performed at hundreds of institutions worldwide and showed that the T-DM1 treatment slowed progression of HER-2 positive disease with fewer side effects.

Portteus said the research into T-DM1 advances Komen’s search for personalized medicines for breast cancer. “We are working toward a goal of ensuring that women get the treatment that is right for them from the outset,”  Portteus said.

T-DM1 binds the targeted drug trastuzumab (Herceptin) with an experimental chemotherapy drug, emtansine, to specifically target and deliver the chemotherapy to the cancerous cells while leaving other cells intact. Some media reports have described the combination as a “smart bomb” against breast cancer cells.

Komen currently is funding $23 million in large-scale Promise Grants investigating personalized medicine as part of an active research portfolio of more than 500 grants totaling more than $300 million. Since 1982, Komen has become the largest non-profit funder of breast cancer research (outside of the federal government), with more than $750 million investing in breast cancer research.