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Breast Cancer Treatment Offers Patients Hope Through Targeted Therapy

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When it comes to cancer detection and treatment, it usually feels like medical science can’t do enough quickly enough. But there has been great progress made in the past decade in devising more specific types of treatment, particularly against breast cancer.

Doctor Ian Krop is on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and is the Director of Clinical Research for the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Krop specifically studies HER-2 positive breast cancer – that’s the one that tests positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, which promotes the growth of cancer cells within the body.

Krop and his team have developed a new therapy that specifically targets and delivers the chemotherapy to the cancerous cells while ignoring healthy cells. The therapy not only allows for a more specific treatment but also causes fewer side effects.

"A lot of progress that's been made over the last ten or fifteen years has been because of the realization that breast cancer is actually a family of different types of cancers, and each one of these cancers is molecularly different and responds to different treatments," says Dr. Drop. "This recognition and the ability to then tailor our therapies to each of these individual types of breast cancer has made a big difference."

Krop was in Milwaukee last week to address the breast cancer organization Susan B. Komen Southeast Wisconsin, and came by the Lake Effect studio to share insight into new treatment developments:

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Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.