South Texans are helping test a new experimental breast cancer drug. It's a therapy that's showing great promise for patients who often run out of options.
Barbara Foxall of Converse is getting a treatment that's possibly saving her life. She's been diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer ( ), a form of the disease that's especially difficult to treat. TNBC does not have the receptors that fuel the growth of most tumors.
"It makes it much more difficult to treat," explained , an oncologist with Cancer Care Centers of South Texas. "And these types of breast cancers tend to be very aggressive and recur very quickly."
CT images from two months ago show the recurring cancer spreading to Foxall's lungs and liver. That's when Harroff started Foxall on an experimental treatment called BSI-201, a targeted therapy that keeps cancer cells from repairing the damage caused by chemotherapy. That keeps the spread of the disease in check.
For Foxall, the difference has been amazing. "I was lying on the couch," Foxall recalled. "My friends were bringing me dinner. I could hardly walk to my car. I was sick. And, I mean, immediately after I started taking this, I felt a difference and I started gaining my strength back and now I'm pretty much back to normal."
Foxall's scans after only six weeks of the study drug show a dramatic difference. Doctors have documented a 40% reduction in the volume of her cancer, and she's breathing easier, even going out dancing several times a week.
"This type of breast cancer is so aggressive and so lethal and we have not had anything to offer these women up to this point," Harroff said. "And it's just very nice to have something now that we can offer that can give them some hope."
"I like living," Foxall exclaimed, "and I want to keep living. I'm so excited. It's really, really exciting."
The clinical trial of this new targeted therapy will wrap up next year, and if results continue to be positive, it could be on the market soon.
For more information on the clinical trial at the Cancer Care Centers of South Texas, call the CCCST Research Office at (210) 424-2610 or click on this .