The research department at Highlands Oncology Group in Rogers and Fayetteville was part of a recent clinical trial, leading to a new drug that treats breast cancer. The drug, Kisqali, was developed by Novartis and been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s the only inhibitor of two proteins called cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) in the United States that’s designed for premenopausal women and is an initial therapy with fulvestrant in postmenopausal women.
The new drug is expected to help women with hormone-receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced stage or metastatic breast cancer to live longer without progression of disease, said Liz Barrett, CEO of Novartis Oncology.
“Highlands Oncology Group is proud to help develop new therapies for patients with metastatic breast cancer,” said Dr. J. Thaddeus Beck, oncologist and medical director of research at Highlands Oncology Group. The cancer care provider’s research department has more than 21 research employees and is participating in 33 clinical trials. More than 2,000 patients were enrolled in the Kisqali clinic trial programs.
Nearly 155,000 people in the United States are living with metastatic breast cancer, and up to one-third of patients with early-stage breast cancer will develop the advance disease. Advanced breast cancer in premenopausal women is biologically distinct and more aggressive, and it is the leading cause of cancer death in women 20-59 years old.
“Premenopausal women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer often face unique social challenges and a poorer prognosis,” said Jennifer Merschdorf, CEO of Young Survival Coalition. “With this approval, some younger women now have a new therapy indicated specifically for them that may help extend their lives without progression of disease.”