MOZAMBIQUE – The Max Foundation (Max) has unveiled a novel treatment for cancer patients with HER2- HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC) through its Max Access Solutions program.
Max is a global nonprofit organization that works to promote health equity by providing cancer patients with medication, technology, and supportive services.
This advancement comes amid ongoing research into the treatment of HER2- HR+ advanced breast cancer (ABC), which has been shown to be rarely treatable.
If a breast cancer is hormone receptor-positive, it suggests that the hormones estrogen, progesterone, or both are causing it to grow.
HER2-negative tumours, on the other hand, have tested negative for a protein known as human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2, which promotes cancer cell proliferation.
As a result, HER2-negative tumours do not react to HER2 protein-targeting therapies (such as Herceptin).
Over half of all breast cancers are both hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative.
Despite the availability of numerous medications, hormone receptor (HR)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative (HR+/HER2) breast cancer is rarely curable.
The Max Access Solutions initiative will use CDK4/6 inhibitors in this novel treatment.
According to Dr. Mirat Shah, Dr. Maria Raquel Nunes, and Dr. Vered Stearns’ study on CDK4/6 inhibitors, the current paradigm for HR+/HR2- advanced cancer involves endocrine therapy and chemotherapy to prolong patients’ lives, delay disease progression, and minimize cancer-related symptoms.
CDK4/6 inhibitors are a type of drug that is used to treat hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer.
According to Breastcancer.org, they target specific proteins known as the cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6, abbreviated as CDK4/6.
These medicines interrupt the process through which breast cancer cells divide and multiply
By inhibiting these kinases, CDK4/6 inhibitors can help slow down the growth of cancer cells.
CDK4/6 inhibitors are frequently used in conjunction with hormonal therapy in the treatment of advanced breast cancer, particularly in hormone receptor-positive tumors.
Palbociclib, ribociclib, and abemaciclib, for example, are frequently used in combination with endocrine therapy such as aromatase inhibitors or selective estrogen receptor modulators
The introduction of CDK4/6 inhibitors has dramatically improved progression-free survival and, in some cases, overall survival.
Under the Max Access Solution program, the company has revealed that three patients have begun treatment, including CDK4/6 inhibitor medication, in Mozambique.
The initiative is being implemented in collaboration with many partners under the Humanitarian Partnership for Access to Critical Treatment (Humanitarian PACT) for Advanced Breast Cancer.
Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, CEO of The Max Foundation, lauded the new treatment, stating that it is a momentous day for women living with advanced breast cancer in Mozambique and beyond, as they will be able to get the latest treatment for the first time for free.
She also stated that improving the healthcare system to facilitate access to novel treatments in low-income nations necessitates the collaboration of different stakeholders.
She complimented her collaborators, such as the Humanitarian PACT, for their efforts to advance the care of cancer patients in low/middle-income countries (LMICs) and stated that they plan to expand these efforts to reach more people in need.
Partners in the ABC Humanitarian PACT have also agreed to invest money and/or their unique skills and capabilities to help Max Access Solutions grow.
This will aid in the provision of treatment for HR+/HER2- advanced breast cancer patients.
Max Access Solutions is Max’s innovative treatment access approach that leverages the power of partnerships while prioritizing individual patients’ needs to enhance cancer and other critical illness outcomes in low-resource healthcare settings.
Max Access Solutions presently treats over 34,000 patients in 77 low-income nations.
Dr. Fatima Cardoso, President of the ABC Global Alliance, noted, on her part, that access to appropriate diagnosis and treatment is critical to improving the survival and quality of life of patients with advanced breast cancer.
She expressed her delight and pride that ABC Global Alliance is collaborating with The Max Foundation and their colleagues in Mozambique on this essential program and that the first patients will be able to obtain important medications for free.
She remains optimistic that by working together, they will improve the lives of their patients and their families.
Breast cancer is the most frequent disease in women, with roughly 2.2 million cases occurring each year worldwide and approximately 700,000 fatalities occurring each year.
Each year, an estimated 45% of new cases are diagnosed, and more than 55% of breast cancer-related fatalities occur in low- and middle-income nations.
Managing breast cancer in low-income countries presents unique challenges; for example, routine pathology, diagnostic tests, and standard treatments are frequently unavailable.
As a result, breast cancer is frequently found in its late stages, and due to limited resources, patients may get insufficient treatment, including supportive and palliative care.
Preparations for addressing these issues include engaging more partners, growing in-country teams, expanding the medical network to treat patients, and adopting programs to strengthen health systems such as diagnostics and supportive care.
In addition to Mozambique, preparations are underway to begin treatment in the Bahamas, Benin, Bhutan, Haiti, Jamaica, Nepal, Saint Lucia, and Seychelles, with hopes to expand to more nations in 2024.