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A medication used for treating breast cancer may also be useful in therapies for individuals who have received positive colorectal cancer tests, according to new research out of the Penn State College of Medicine.
The researchers who are developing the therapy said that their drug combines the breast cancer-fighting medication lapatinib and artificial antibodies that serve a similar function as natural cancer-fighting proteins.
Combining the two drugs is so effective because they work in complementary ways. Lapatinib makes a greater number of death receptors on cancer cells available to the artificial antibodies, which activate these receptors, causing tumors to eventually die.
The researchers said that understanding this mechanism that explains the benefits of the drug combination is important because it provides greater assurance that the pair is effective.
A combination of the two medications has already been tested in laboratory mice and shown positive results. The team is now planning on evaluating the effects of the drugs on humans who suffer from colorectal cancer. If all goes well, the medication could soon be before the Food and Drug Administration for approval.
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