Trastuzumab, which is sold under the brand name of Herceptin, is known to be a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat breast cancer. Its main use is to treat breast cancer that is HER2+. Although this medicine cans either be used alone and as well as with other chemotherapy medications. This medicinal drug is provided to a patient in the form of a slow injection which is injected into the vein or through an injection right under the skin. The Trastuzumab works at treating cancer by binding the HER2 receptor and slowing down the process of cell duplication.
Treatments and side effects:
Herceptin is used in the treatment of 2 types of cancers, i.e. metastatic breast cancer and gastric cancer.
- Metastatic breast
in this cancer, Herceptin has 2 different approved uses to treat it. One of them includes the use of Herceptin with the combination of chemotherapy drug paclitaxel for the first-line treatment of HER2+ metastatic cancer. While the other approved use of Herceptin is alone in terms of treating HER2+ breast cancer patients who have received at least one or more chemotherapy sessions for their metastatic diseases.
- Gastric cancer:
in the treatment of this cancer, Herceptin is used with a combination of chemotherapy(cisplatin and either capecitabine or 5-fluorouracil). This approved use of Herceptin is for the treatment of HER2-positive metastatic cancer of the stomach or gastroesophageal junction.
Often seen and noticed side effects of Herceptin in terms of breast cancer treatment includes;
- Infusion reactions
- Tired feeling
- Increased cough
- Breath shortness
- Muscle pain
- Low count of white and red blood cells.
In terms of stomach cancer;
- Tired feeling
- Low count of white blood cells
- Swelling at the mouth lining
- Weight loss
- Low count of platelets
- Low count of red blood cells
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Change of taste
- Nose and throat swelling
- Mucous membrane swelling.
If any of the mentioned side effects are noticed, one should immediately contact their doctor. Although, not everyone tends to experience side of effects after the use of Herceptin in the treatment of cancer but rather just a few patients do.
This cancer-treating drug was first discovered by scientists at Genentech, namely Dr. Axel Ullrich and Dr. H. Michael Shepard. As of that, in September 1998 Herceptin was fast-tracked by the FDA and received approval as an effective cancer-treating drug. Since Genetech was the only Herceptin manufacturers since the date and its effective results forwarded the drug at a high cost, a few biosimilar products were approved and introduced.
Although later on, Roche bought Genentech and became the new and only Herceptin manufacturer after paying a total of$46.8 billion for Genentech! This attractive and wealthy deal was made as to the California based company Genetech was found attractive to Roche due to its amazing products and biomarkers that fit perfectly in Roche’s criteria of healthcare systems and services. So in March 2009, Roche seamlessly became the sole owner and distributor of Herceptin manufacturer.