Tag Archives: CDK Inhibitors

October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here

When examining cancer morbidity and mortality, if you separate the sexes, acknowledging that men also get breast cancer, among women, breast cancer is the top culprit.

The first step is to make sure that there is widespread awareness for the disease, both among the public, but also in government. That way, men and women can conduct breast exams, and try to get as early a diagnosis as possible.

Secondly, governments around the world can set aside more funding, both for breast cancer research, as well as for breast cancer treatments. At least in the developing world, the disease is not as debilitating as it once was.

Just the other day, we found out everyone’s sweetheart Julia Louis-Dreyfus came forward letting us all know she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Thus, you have a clear view of a disease that spares neither the rich, nor the poor, and does not care for any other classification.

It is also the hope that a cure for breast cancer can be extended to other cancers. This has happened to a certain extent with some of the medication and therapies.

Therefore, join me this month, as I try to rack up a few posts on Breast Cancer – the statistics, therapies, diagnosis, prevention and more.

New Drug Approved: abemaciclib

Let us start with good news for today. “abemaciclib” is a new drug just approved by the FDA for breast cancer therapy. You can read about it in the reference. However, let’s break it down a bit here.

CDK (cyclin-dependent kinase) inhibitor

For starters, abemaciclib belongs to a class called CDK Inhibitors. There are two other drugs in this class, that were also approved for the treatment of a specific sub-type of breast cancer, the “receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer”. This is one of the good things about breast cancer research and treatment today. Breast cancer has been typed and classified genetically enough that we have left behind the “let’s throw stuff on the wall and see what sticks” mostly.

Of course, there is more work to be done. To exemplify that, abemaciclib, is specific to patients who are on endocrine therapy and the disease continues to progress. Not only that, while the drug is to be administered along with another drug, fulvestrant, it has been specifically been approved to be used as a monotherapy (standalone treatment) for patients who have previously had both endocrine therapy and conventional chemotherapy, but in whom, breast cancer has metastasized.

While this can all certainly seem overwhelming, it is an example of both how far we have come, and how far we have to go.

Key Takeaways

Some key takeaways for the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something, which I will try to repeat as many times as possible:

  1. Awareness is supreme. Awareness helps us to be rid of fear, and to get women to quicker and earlier diagnoses, which is a very important consideration in survival.
  2. Governments and private philanthropies should focus on provide funding for all cancer research in general, and breast cancer in particular. This is where awareness comes into play again.
  3. Support medicine, clinical research and science in general. We need to be able to genetically weed out breast (and hopefully, ALL) cancer, not just do things based on family history and other factors. This is a lofty, achievable goal. We do it with other diseases, we need to be able to do this with cancer as well.
  4. Prevention, is always better than cure. Therefore, along with awareness, must come campaigns that urge people to live healthier lifestyles – less drinking, avoiding cigarettes, avoid harmful drugs, eating well, exercising and more.

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References: 

  1. The approval of abemaciclib: https://www.medpagetoday.com/HematologyOncology/BreastCancer/68204?xid=nl_mpt_%20SRCardiology_2017-09-30&eun=g101584d0r&pos=3311133
  2. Image, Courtesy Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/awareness-cancer-design-pink-579474/