We don’t often see a story about cancer and think, “well that is not bad news,” so when we saw this one we wanted to share it with you guys. Two experimental breast cancer drugs from Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly & Co. have showed promise in slowing the course of breast cancer in patients in two different studies.

The studies are still in their early stages but could eventually offer patients a new treatment option, possibly in place of chemotherapy, if they get approved. One study follows 165 patients who are taking a drug from Pfizer (palbociclib) along with an existing therapy. Research showed that the drug stopped tumors from growing about twice as long as the current treatment alone, for a median of 20.2 months.

In the other study, 47 patients are taking an experimental breast cancer drug (bemaciclib) from Lilly. 33 of the 47 taking it found that the size of their tumors shrank by 30% or didn’t increase for 24 weeks.

Both experimental therapies target and shut down proteins in the body known as CDKs (cyclin-dependent kinases). By stopping these proteins, it can cause the tumors to shrink as the cells die. Right now, both companies are hoping that the FDA will grant accelerated approval — if Pfizer could get it, their drug could be available as early as next year.

Experts are staying cautiously optimistic, but these are still some of the most impressive results of a study of their kind yet. Cautious optimism still equals optimism in our books.

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