Key oncologist Dennis Slamon to be honoured in Dublin

Doctor’s discovery of breast cancer drug Herceptin saved lives of countless women

World-famous oncologist Dr Dennis Slamon will be the guest of honour at an event to mark 10 years of the breast cancer drug Herceptin in Ireland.

Dr Slamon’s discovery of the drug in the 1990s has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of women worldwide, including an estimated 1,000 in Ireland.

Dr Slamon’s story was made into a Hollywood film entitled Living Proof that premiered in 2008.

Many of the women whose lives were saved by the drug will be in attendance at the event in the Herbert Park Hotel in Ballsbridge at 8pm on Friday evening.

Consultant oncologist Prof John Crown said Herceptin had a "very profound" impact on the treatment of breast cancer, particularly in patients with the HER2 positive gene.

Reduction in risk

“Ten years ago, the first results were presented of studies in which the drug Trastuzumab, also known by the trade name Herceptin, was given to patients with high-risk, early-stage breast cancer. These results showed a dramatic reduction in the risk of fatal relapse,” he said.

“Research conducted at St Vincent’s, supported by the Cancer Clinical Research Trust (CCRT), has shown that HER2 positive breast cancer has now become an uncommon cause of death.

“Even for patients who were treated with Trastuzumab for very advanced, usually incurable disease, our research at CCRT has shown that a substantial proportion of patients are achieving very prolonged remissions and may be cured,” he said.

See for more details.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times