July 25, 2005
Blood vessel drugs halt cancer growth
From The Harvard Gazette:
Nobody believed Judah Folkman when, in the 1960s, he claimed that the growth of cancers could be stopped, even reversed, by blocking the tiny vessels that feed them blood. Over the years, however, he has survived peer rejection of his theory, and gone on to develop drugs that did what he predicted they would do. In 1998, endostatin, one of several anti-blood-vessel growth drugs developed in his lab, was hyped by the media as a "cure" for many different cancers. A scant seven years later, Fortune magazine derided it as a "failure." Both statements turn out to be high exaggerations.
A related drug, called Avastin, was approved for use in the United States in February 2004. Since then, 27 other countries have OK'd it for treating colon cancer. Avastin is also being tested on patients with kidney, breast, and ovarian cancers. In addition, another blood-vessel-growth blocker, Tarceva, has been approved for treatment of lung cancer in the United States.
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