Re: Video helps woman with aggressive breast cancer get experimental drug (pertuzumab
The novel monoclonal antibody pertuzumab functions by preventing dimerization of HER-2 (the target of Herceptin) with the other members of the human epidermal growth factor family HER-1, HER-3 and HER-4. In so doing, the cross talk between receptors is abrogated and downstream signaling is squelched. One of the most interesting aspect of the reports on this drug is it reflects the downstream pathways it targets. Pertuzumab inhibits signaling at the PI3K pathway, upstream from mTOR.
This, in the truest sense, is a breakthrough in metabolomics. There may be many reasons why cancer drugs remain out of reach for patients like this, and the Gant video illustrates how social media can change the equation, but several changes could be implemented immediately to increase the rate of success of these new drugs. One of them is the need to redouble the efforts in the study of basic metabolism and the growing field of metabolomics (the metabolome). For personalizing cancer therapy for patients, metabolic profiles are essential. She should have received “active” drugs, the first time around, and doctors should be allowed to give them, using techniques that match patients to “active” therapies.