The drug Halaven has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration after years of research and clinical trials. The drug is one of many derived from molecules within nature - Halaven being made from a substance within a black Japanese coral sponge, according to the Wall Street Journal
Eisai Co, the drug's manufacturer, decided to look to nature when designing a tumor-targeting drug. Halaven, which contains the substance halichondrin B, has been found to stunt the growth of tumors and cell division in ways previously unheard of. The drug speaks to the nature of the pharmaceutical industry that is looking for targeted therapy to block the processes that lead to cell division and spreading of the disease.
Unfortunately, Halaven is not a cure for the disease, rather a means of delaying the spread of cancer cells. A recent study performed with advanced stage breast cancer patients has found that the drug will extend a person's life expectancy by two-and-a-half to 13 months.
According to BreastCancer.org, about 1 in 8 women living in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.