DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR TIM EVANS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Herceptin breast cancer drug, molecular model. Herceptin (trastuzumab) is a monoclonal antibody comprising two protein chains (blue and pink). It works by binding to and blocking the HER2 receptor, which is found on some breast cancer cells. HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2) overabundance makes cancer cells faster-growing and more likely to spread. Herceptin treatment greatly improves the chances of curing the cancer. Around 20% of breast cancers have HER2 over-expression, and are thus viable targets for the drug. In the UK in 2005, it was announced that all women with early breast cancer would be tested to see if their tumours would be receptive to Herceptin therapy.
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