Survivor Stephanie Grimes
On April 10, 2013, a cancer drug that showed remarkable results in early testing at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) was designated a Breakthrough Therapy by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
The “Breakthrough Therapy” designation was created by federal legislation enacted in 2012 to speed up development and review of experimental treatments that are seen as big advances over existing therapies for serious diseases.
Philanthropic support enabled JCCC researchers to demonstrate dramatic improvement in early phase clinical trials for patients with advanced estrogen-receptor positive (ER+), HER2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer who received the experimental drug (trade name Palbociclib) which is manufactured by Pfizer. About 60% of women with advanced breast cancer have ER+, HER2- tumors and 150,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. annually.
Seriously ill patients on studies under the direction of the JCCC’s Richard Finn, M.D., received standard treatment along with Palbociclib. Median progression-free survival for patients on the combination therapy increased to more than 2 years, compared to only 7.5 months for patients who received the standard therapy alone. Equally important, there were no significant side effects associated with the new drug.
This unprecedented impact on the largest sub-type of breast cancers validates the JCCC’s pioneering research approach—identify important molecular targets in the laboratory and develop them into effective treatments.
In just 6 years, Dr. Finn and his team have translated a laboratory discovery into a clinical therapy that the FDA deems a “breakthrough.”
Your philanthropic support has a direct impact on cancer patients. Thank you for supporting life-saving research at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center!