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Clinical Trial at Summa Targets Aggressive HER2 Positive Breast Cancer

Date: 05.08.2012
Contact: Jennifer Farquhar Phone: (330) 375-4930

AKRON, Ohio, May 7, 2012 – Women with HER2 positive breast cancer may be eligible for an international phase III clinical trial designed to study whether a new drug can keep the cancer from coming back. The Aphinity trial is the first widely available human study of the drug Pertuzumab and is being offered in Northeast Ohio solely by Summa Health System.

About 20 percent of women with breast cancer have tumors that test positive for excessive amounts of HER2, a protein.

“The concern for women with HER2 positive breast cancer is that the cancer is often aggressive and more likely than other types to recur,” said Summa Medical Oncologist Jennifer Payne, M.D. “If this trial can show that a new supplemental drug is effective in keeping the cancer from coming back, then it means added peace of mind for patients and better outcomes.”

The study is open to newly diagnosed women with HER2 positive cancer who will be undergoing chemotherapy but who have not yet started this treatment.

Many patients receiving treatment for breast cancer undergo surgery and then chemotherapy, often with a drug called Herceptin. Half of the patients in the Aphinity trial will receive standard treatment with Herception and the other half will receive both Herceptin and the study drug, Pertuzumab. Scientists believe that the two drugs together may work better than traditional treatment to target the HER2 protein and keep it from causing the cancer to return.

The Aphinity trial is underway at 566 locations around the globe and comes on the heels of another study showing favorable results of Pertuzumab in breast cancer that had spread to other sites in the body.

Please call 1-800-23-SUMMA for more information on the Aphinity trial. It is available at Summa’s Jean and Milton Cooper Cancer Center in Akron, the Summa Health Center at Lake Medina and the Parkview Center at Summa Barberton Hospital. More than 100 cancer clinical trials are currently underway across Summa Health System.

About Summa Health System
Summa Health System is one of the largest integrated healthcare delivery systems in Ohio. Encompassing a network of hospitals, community health centers, a health plan, a physician-hospital organization, a multi-specialty physician organization, research and multiple foundations, Summa is nationally renowned for excellence in patient care and for exceptional approaches to healthcare delivery. Summa's clinical services are consistently recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (Magnet® status), U.S. News and World Report, Thomson Reuters and The Leapfrog Group. Summa also is a founding partner of the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook at and Twitter at