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Reports: Dying woman's plea prompts early release of cancer drug


NEW YORK — An online plea for help from a mother dying of breast cancer prompted the manufacturer of an experimental drug to release it early, according to published reports.

In an article posted on its website, CNN told the story of 46-year-old Darlene Gant, a woman with stage-four breast cancer, as she wrote letters to be given to her 11-year-old son on his upcoming birthday, and at future events, such as his high school and college graduations and marriage.

Gant had made a YouTube video asking Roche subsidiary Genentech to release early the drug pertuzumab for compassionate use, a regulatory provision that allows a drug to be released early if no other treatment is available. The company had planned to release the drug in June, following its approval by the Food and Drug Administration, but Gant wasn't expected to live that long. The FDA still expects to decide whether or not to approve the drug in June, and aside from the compassionate use release, it is not yet available to the public.

In response to the video and an effort by members of the public, Genentech released the drug early, and Gant took her first dose. She now expects to live a few months longer, CNN reported.

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