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Surviving Breast Cancer: Race For A Cure

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Surviving Breast Cancer:  Race For A Cure
By: Tiffany Sisson

The race to find a cure for breast cancer is at a full sprint. Everyday, researchers are trying new drugs, and new treatments to make the disease a distant memory. They've pin pointed a way to zap only the breast cancer cells, and not poison the entire body. It's called targeted therapy. Add to that, clinical trials are studying a new drug that may take this race for a cure across the finish line.

Revolutionary research is discovering how cancer cells work, what they're made of, how they behave, and the genetic mutations that cause them. That's giving scientists new targets so that rather than blasting the whole body with chemotherapy and radiation, smart drugs are being developed that strike just the cancer without poisoning the patient.

Dr. Burt Vogelstein is a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, "We know that simple changes in the building blocks of DNA is what is responsible for cancer."

Dr. Bethany Sleckman , a researcher at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in St. Louis, is part of a genetic clinical trial going on right now. Sleckman said it's focused on targeted care, "It can take these patients tumor tissue and test it for various genes to figure out whether these women might benefit from chemotherapy."

Stephanie Grimes was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. "I looked at it like, let's attack it. It's aggressive," said Grimes.

She's trying an experimental combination of Herceptin and Avastin without chemotherapy. This approach is highly experimental, and not for everyone. Stephanie's response was dramatic, "I kept looking, and feeling, and said have I started to imagine things, but literally it kept going away."

"The next study will be coming along in early 2007, which will compare Raloxifene with yet another medication that's effective in treating breast cancer. We will look at it's role in preventing breast cancer," said Sleckman.

Sleckman adds for women to be aggressive, talk with your doctor about whether you need to be on any preventive medication for breast cancer.

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