Westmead BCI Professor Rina Hui talks about a drug trial offering new hope to patients


An international immunotherapy trial involving Australian women has shown promising early results for the 20% of patients with triple negative breast cancer.


In an interview with Channel 9, Westmead Beast Cancer Institute’s Professor Rina Hui spoke about the trial that is offering new hope to 20% of women diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer.


“We really have the issue of not being able to use the anti-HER2 treatment, we can’t use anti-hormone treatment,” Prof Hui said when describing triple negative breast cancer as an unmet need.


An immunotherapy drug that is saving lives for people with melanoma and lung cancer has now been tested in a trial of over 1000 patients with triple negative breast cancer.


“What it does is release the patient’s own immune system to fight against the cancer,” Prof Hui said.


When the drug Keytruda was used prior to surgery, along with chemotherapy, there was a significant positive response compared to placebo.


And more tumours under the microscope were cancer-free.


The trial also revealed early signs of improvement to survival rates, but a long term follow up is needed.