New Irish drug trial looks to treat advanced breast cancer

Up to 34 women will take part in the three year trial

HER, breast cancer, drug trial, Ireland, Prof Bryan Hennessy,

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A new trial is being announced aiming to save the lives of women with advanced breast cancer.

Up to 34 women will take part in the trial for patients who have not responded to currently available treatments.

The trial will, for the first time, test the use of the new drug copanlisib in combination with trastuzumab to treat advanced HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer.

It is expected to be conducted over a three year period in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, St Vincent's University Hospital in Dublin, St James's Hospital in Dublin, University Hospital Galway and Cork University Hospital at a cost of approximately €750,000.

HER2+ breast cancer is a type of breast cancer that over-produces Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2 (HER2), a protein that stimulates the growth of cancer cells.

Current treatments that specifically target HER2 - such as trastuzumab - are effective at helping to slow or even stop the growth of breast cancer cells.

However, resistance to HER2-targeted treatments can develop, meaning that current treatments can become ineffective.

The trial is being led by Professor Bryan Hennessy, Clinical Lead at Cancer Trials Ireland, and Consultant Oncologist at Beaumont Hospital.

He explained to Newstalk Breakfast how it will work.