Beating Breast Cancer

WSVN — Ladies, if you’ve been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, you might be a candidate for a new clinical trial in Miami. 7’s Diana Diaz shows us how one local hospital is leading the way in groundbreaking research in hopes of beating breast cancer.

Kim Barnard had her yearly mammogram scheduled for last May, but cancer doesn’t always wait for appointments.

Kim Barnard: “I noticed a lump that was sticking out from my breast. It just came on all of a sudden.”

Doctors confirmed the large tumor was breast cancer.

Kim Barnard: “I was devastated.”

The 52-year-old had what’s called an estrogen-sensitive tumor, which means the hormone estrogen causes the cancer to grow. Researchers at UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center are leading a clinical trial for women like Kim with this type of cancer.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “Postmenopausal women, who have a newly diagnosed breast cancer that’s at least 2 centimeters, that express the estrogen receptor, so is a estrogen-sensitive tumor.”

In the trial, all patients will receive the standard anti-estrogen drug treatment which blocks the production of estrogen.

But some will also receive another new drug. Doctors hope will make the therapy work even better.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “We’re testing whether a new targeted drug can actually make the tumor shrink more and potentially prevent the reoccurrence later on.”

Neither the doctors or the patients know who is getting the new drug or a placebo.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “We’ve stacked it so that two out of three will get the study drug.”

Researchers are also testing pieces of patient’s tumors before and after treatment.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “So we get a really complex picture of molecular pathways that may indicate who ultimately is likely to be the most responsive to this treatment.”

Twenty-eight women are in the trial and so far, doctors are optimistic.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “Pretty much everyone who has been entered in this study had a reduction in tumor size, but some have had even better reductions than others.”

Kim joined the trial and even though she doesn’t know if she got the added drug, the 52-year-old had great results.

Dr. Joyce Slingerland: “She had an extraordinary response with the tumor shrinking from close to eight centimeters down to half a centimeter.”

Kim Barnard: “I feel great. It was like I never had any side effects or anything. It’s the chance to help others, not just me.”

Doctors are still accepting patients into this trial. They hope to have a total of 72 women.

For More Information:

UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Estrogen-sensitive tumor study