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These drugs could replace chemotherapy with fewer ‘disruptive side effects’

| | June 24, 2019

A class of drugs is emerging that can attack cancer cells in the body without damaging surrounding healthy ones. They have the potential to replace chemotherapy and its disruptive side effects, reshaping the future of cancer care.

The complex biological medicines, called antibody drug conjugates (ADCs), have been in development for decades, and are now generating renewed excitement because of the success of one ADC in late-stage testing, a breast cancer treatment called DS-8201.

The fervor over ADCs is such that AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.N) in March [2019] agreed to pay as much as US$6.9 billion to jointly develop DS-8201 with Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co. (DSNKY.PK), the British drugmaker’s biggest deal in more than a decade. The investment was widely seen to be a validation of DS-8201’s potential — and the ADC class of drugs as a whole — as an alternative for chemotherapy, the most widely used treatment, for some types of cancer.

Analysts say DS-8201 could triple the number of patients who get powerful targeted treatment for breast cancer.

Daiichi’s treatment has been seen to double survival time for advanced breast cancer patients to 20 months from 10, former UBS Securities Japan Co. analyst Atsushi Seki said.

Read full, original post: Drug to replace chemotherapy may reshape cancer care

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