Local woman part of new cancer drug trial - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local woman part of new cancer drug trial

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The Food and Drug Administration has just approved a new breast cancer drug for some late stage patients. It's called Kadcyla. After years of trials, the FDA approved it Friday.

One of the people in the study is from Northwest Ohio. Mary Chris Skeldon was in Detroit getting her treatment when the news came that the FDA had approved the drug, meaning it will be available to certain breast cancer patients in a matter of weeks.

Mary Chris loves spending time with her grandson and the rest of her family. She's able to do that thanks in part to Kadcyla, "It's a very gentle drug without many side effects. It's wonderful for someone with late stage cancer to have a treatment that doesn't knock you over."

Mary Chris was originally diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in 1997 and given just 18 months to live, "I decided I am going to fight and fight hard and I am going to find a way to get more time and we did." After aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and stem cell treatment she was in remission for 13 years, but in 2011 it came back, "When I had the recurrence it brought me to my knees again, just like it did the first time."

Kadcyla is made by Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. It's a new kind of targeted cancer medicine that can attach to certain kinds of cancer cells and deliver chemotherapy directly to them. Like Mary Chris, her husband Marty is grateful for the drug, "This drug has a little bit of Herceptin in it, and it's the horse that takes the rest of the drugs to the cancer cells and then drops them bomb on them. It's amazing."

For the last six months Mary Chris has been part of the Kadcyla trial at The Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit in conjunction with Wayne State University.  The drug is for people with previously treated HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, "If you're lucky enough, you keep beating it down until the next drug comes along. That's why it's so important to keep the research dollars coming because you can string a lot of years together and have a darn good life."

Mary Chris was the press secretary for Mayor Carty Finkbeiner and Mayor Jack Ford.  She now works full time at The National Exchange Club. She says she'll spend the rest of her life working to help find a cure for breast cancer by sharing her story and raising money.

For information on the drug check out these links:

Kadcyla.com

The American Cancer Society

Gene.com

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