A new drug that shrinks the most serious breast cancer tumours could be available in Britain within the next five years.
Affitoxin, which kills cancerous cells by preventing them from producing protein, could give fresh hope to thousands.
Human testing on the ‘wonder drug’ is about to begin in the U.S. and it could be on sale shortly.
The drug works against HER2 positive breast cancer which is the most serious form of the disease.
In trials it has been effective where the Herceptin fails. Cancer sufferers can become immune to the popular drug and once it has been used there are currently no other treatment options.
The research, carried out at Philadelphia University, could mark a significant breakthrough in the fight against disease.
Around 48,000 women in Britain are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
When Affitoxin was injected into mice with large and aggressive tumours they stopped growing and most of them disappeared altogether.
Dr Jacek Capala said: ‘Herceptin has revolutionized the treatment of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but a significant number of tumors acquire resistance to the drug.
‘Affitoxin could offer another therapeutic option for those patients whose tumors no longer respond to Herceptin.’
He added: ‘When cells absorb the toxin, it interferes with protein production and, thereby, kills them.’
Baroness Morgan, chief executive of Breast Cancer Campaign, told The Sun: ‘Herceptin is arguably one of the biggest advances in breast cancer in 20 years but in many cases it eventually stops working.
‘If Affitoxin realises its potential as a new treatment for HER2 positive breast cancer, it may overcome this issue of resistance.
‘These promising results indicate a clinical trial urgently needed to move this drug closer to patient use.’