Protecting the heart from cancer treatment

Researchers are starting clinical trials on women diagnosed with breast cancer, trying to find a way to protect the heart from damage caused by certain cancer treatments. Herceptin, a drug used to treat a specific type of aggressive breast cancer, works by targeting HER-2 genes found in the cancer cells. Unfortunately, HER-2 is also found in the cells of the heart and protects the heart from stress. Without this protection, stress from everyday activities weakens the heart like an elastic band that has been stretched too many times.

They chose breast cancer patients because it has already been well researched. Researchers started screening patients in October 2010, and have selected 17 patients so far, and hope to find as many as 159 qualified participants. Patients selected for the study will receive either an ACE inhibitor, a beta blocker, or a placebo in a blue pill capsule. Which course of pills the participant will receive is decided at random. Read more…

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