NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- One of the leading researchers in breast cancer is now at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven.
Dr. Lajos Pusztai is highly regarded among his peers for his work in breast cancer. Through clinical trials he has helped develop targeted therapies to help women survive breast cancer.
There are nearly three million breast cancer survivors in the United States, progress indeed, but still about 40,000 will die of breast cancer this year.
To improve those numbers, well-known researcher Dr. Puzstai says it comes down to improved therapeutic strategies and more effective drugs.
"We'd like to take these drugs and move them into the earliest stage setting where we can actually move cure rates," Dr. Puzstai said.
Dr. Puzstai is developing research and clinical trials at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Six studies are currently open for breast cancer patients.
The most exciting is a drug for advance stage breast cancer that targets the surface of immune cells in a tumor, boosting the immune system.
"This molecule can increase the presence and activity of immune cells in the cancer and shrink molecular activities in some concerns which have been very difficult to treat," Dr. Puzstai said.
It's all part of a novel approach of selecting patients for studies based on the molecular makeup of the cancer.
"Bring all these drugs together in the pre-operative treatment and we hope we can actually eradicate the cancer before it comes to surgery," said Dr. Puzstai.
"I'm so happy I did," said Melinda Margitas, breast cancer patient. "I'm so happy I have nothing."
Margitas was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer two and a half years ago. After taking part in a Phase 3 study, she is now cancer free.
"I want everything to cure the women who have the cancer," said Margitas. "This is a medication given to me and I'm so happy I did because it worked for me, it worked."
Modern science at its best.
Other breast cancer studies at Smilow include a drug combined with existing treatment, aimed at improving cure rates in the early curable stage.
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