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Saginaw, MI 48601
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News Release Date : 05/16/2006

St. Mary’s of Michigan Participates in National Clinical Trial

Dr. Ernie Balcueva
A national study which compared the effectiveness of two drugs in treating invasive breast cancer involved subjects and researchers from St. Mary’s of Michigan.  The initial results of the Study of Tamoxifen And Raloxifene, or STAR, show that the drug Raloxifene, commercially known as Evista and currently used to prevent and treat osteoporosis, works as well as Tamoxifen in reducing the breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women at increased risk of the disease and proved to be safer with less complications.

The clinical study involved over 19,000 women and was one of the largest breast cancer prevention trials ever conducted.  Locally, 10 women were enrolled in the study which was led by Dr. Ernie P.  Balcueva, Oncology Research Director for St. Mary’s of Michigan Seton Cancer Institute.  Dr. Balcueva is also the current President of the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology.  “Local participation in national clinical trials is very important,” says Dr. Balcueva.  “The STAR study, and others which we will also be participating in, will reinforce the effort to put Saginaw on the map as a center of medical excellence.” 

The next generation of breast cancer prevention trials will compare Raloxifene, which is a selective estrogen receptor modulating agent like Tamoxifen (so called SERM’s), with a new family of aromatase inhibitors (so called AI’s), most likely Letrozole (Femara).  There are three commercially available AI’s approved in breast cancer therapy. 

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