A new drug called Kadcyla, approved for treatment of advanced HER2+ breast cancer, caused 44% of tumours to shrink and extended patients’ lives an average of seven months in clinical trials.
This is a huge gain for anyone facing a terminal illness, and yet, the drug is not publically funded in New Zealand despite being approved for use. At a cost of around $100,000 per patient, careful planning is needed for the pharmaceutical to be used cost-effectively.
Kadcyla will not work for everyone - this could be one of the reasons why it isn’t funded.
Doctor Hunter and his team are developing a new test to identify those who will benefit and so ensure a cost-effective use of the pharmaceutical.
“Personalised medicine - pairing patients up with the most effective treatment for them specifically - will improve cancer treatment in coming years," says Doctor Hunter. ''Thanks to BCFNZ funding, our work could benefit patients by ensuring they get the right treatment, and benefit the public by ensuring that expensive pharmaceuticals are used in a cost-effective way.''