The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a cancer medication in a new class of drug called antibody-drug conjugates. Known clinically as T-DM1, the drug works by targeting a genetic sub-class of breast cancer and, once at its destination, releasing an extremely potent chemotherapy directly into the cancer. In clinical trials, the therapy helped breast cancer patients live an average of half a year longer than those patients who were given traditional chemotherapy.
At first, it was expected that the FDA would approve the drug only for individuals who have already undergone other cancer treatments. However, the approval permits doctors to prescribe the medication as an initial treatment for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.