Victorian Researchers Behind Breakthrough Breast Cancer Drugs

Victorian researchers have uncovered a breakthrough for advanced breast cancer sufferers.

Two types for breast cancer drugs have been trialled by researchers at The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Venetoclax -- a a treatment for blood cancer sufferers -- was combined with Tamoxifen, with astonishing results in the first phase of trials on 42 women.

For patients like Julie Baulch, who was diagnosed with an aggressive 10 centimetre tumour in her breast that had spread to her back, it has had a remarkable effect.

"I go for my mammogram every two years and that's when they picked it up," she told 10 News First.

"They couldn't tell me if it was within two years or six months the tumour grew so quickly."

Julie Baulch

Baulch took part in the world-first trial of the drug combination, and her tumour shrunk dramatically within four months.

"I said 'Oh really!' because the ultrasounds were saying we can't find it," Baulch said.

Two years later, Baulch has been given an extended use of the medication in the hope her condition will stay stable.

"Take a day at a time... and one day get rid of it all together."

Doctor Sheau Wen Lok

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For researchers, the aim was not just to prolong life but to reduce the size of the tumours.

"We do not only prolong their life but give them a drug combination that has very few side effects," said Doctor Sheau Wen Lok.

"Up to three quarters of the women saw an improvement of the condition or at least good control of the cancer."

The second phase of the trial has just begun, and researchers hope to take the drug combination global to test on an even broader range of women with advanced breast cancer.