News | September 10, 2007

Is Pink The Color of Breast Cancer Survival?

September 11, 2007 - The color pink, specifically the pink ribbon, has come to symbolize efforts to find a cure for breast cancer. Could a dark pink dye hold the key to surviving breast cancer?

That is what researchers at Provectus Pharmaceuticals, are trying to determine with their new drug in development, Provecta, a key ingredient of which is Rose Bengal, a dark pink stain commonly used in eye drops to stain damaged eyes.

When the drug is injected directly into tumors, it kills the tumors and releases large amounts of tumor antigen. The resulting destruction of the injected tumors appears to have elicited an anti-tumor immune response; a term coined the "bystander effect," which can lead to spontaneous regression of untreated tumors.

The current breast cancer trial is planned with approximately 15 patients affected with recurrent cancer. The goal is to determine if the drug is safe in women who have already received mastectomies and chemo/radiation. These trial participants are affected with recurrent tumors found primarily in the chest wall and along the lymph node path leading up under the arm.

According to the company, breast tumors really "soak-up" the drug. That may lead to the possible use for Provecta as a neo-adjuvant to surgery for tissue sparing purposes.

A single tumor will be injected with Provecta and 1 to 3 weeks later is removed surgically and examined via histopathology. The purpose is to get a preliminary assessment of the interaction of the drug with breast cancer tumors.

Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer affecting American women. According to the National Cancer Institute, there were an estimated 178,480 new cases with 40,460 deaths from breast cancer in the United States in 2007.

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