An Antibody Called Herceptin
In the early 1990s, an antibody was developed that latches onto the her-2/neu proteins on the surface of a cancer cell. It stops the proteins from spurring on cancer-cell growth, and through this "stop signal" can also stop propagation of survival signals within the cancer cell. Some women who were given the experimental antibody saw their cancer growth slow or stop altogether when their Herceptin treatment was combined with cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Herceptin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 1998 as therapy for women who test positive for high levels of the her-2/neu protein (about 25 to 30 percent of all breast cancer patients).