Skip to comments.Drugs Aim to Make Several Types of Cancer Self-Destruct
Posted on 12/30/2012 12:24:38 AM PST by neverdem
For the first time ever, three pharmaceutical companies are poised to test whether new drugs can work against a wide range of cancers independently of where they originated breast, prostate, liver, lung. The drugs go after an aberration involving a cancer gene fundamental to tumor growth. Many scientists see this as the beginning of a new genetic age in cancer research.
Great uncertainties remain, but such drugs could mean new treatments for rare, neglected cancers, as well as common ones. Merck, Roche and Sanofi are racing to develop their own versions of a drug they hope will restore a mechanism that normally makes badly damaged cells self-destruct and could potentially be used against half of all cancers.
No pharmaceutical company has ever conducted a major clinical trial of a drug in patients who have many different kinds of cancer, researchers and federal regulators say. This is a taste of the future in cancer drug development, said Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, the chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society. I expect the organ from which the cancer came from will be less important in the future and the molecular target more important, he added.
And this has major implications for cancer philanthropy, experts say. Advocacy groups should shift from fund-raising for particular cancers to pushing for research aimed at many kinds of cancer at once, Dr. Brawley said. John Walter, the chief executive officer of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, concurred, saying that by pooling forces our strength can be leveraged.
At the heart of this search for new cancer drugs are patients like Joe Bellino, who was a post office clerk until his cancer made him too sick to work. Seven years ago, he went into the hospital for hernia surgery, only to learn he had...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Beautiful news. I pray that this research bears fruit, and that it is disseminated.
Unfortunately, it has been found that cancer tends to be genetically heterogeneous even within the same tumor. A treatments may kill off one cell line and thereby slow a tumor, but also spare other lines that then begin to multiply with renewed vigor.
Makes me wonder why the article only mentions the 3 big companies.
The comments at the site point out that the article completely overlooks the work of Cellceutix (CTIX) whose compound is currently in actual Phase 1 human testing at Dana Farber (Harvard) and whose drug has performed in the lab tests much better than anything out there. Multiple other tests for CTIX drugs scheduled for 2013.
Whichever company solves this P53 challenge may have the biggest breakthrough in cancer treatment ever.
Thanks, neverdem. Good news in dark times.
>> Advocacy groups should shift from fund-raising for particular cancers to pushing for research aimed at many kinds of cancer at once
Very close to a breast cancer survivor and a rare cancer survivor. It would be good to see an umbrella approach to the fund-raising efforts. No cancer group is too small.
All cells have a suicide mechanism called "apoptosis." This mechanism is activated whenever a cell undergoes serious damage. One of the problems in cancer is that the cancer cells often lose or disable that mechanism. With many kinds of cancer treatments designed to activate apoptosis, loss of this causes cancers to fail to respond to therapy. A treatment that would restore apoptosis in the method described in the full article at the link might not directly kill cancers, but it would restore susceptibility to therapy.
While it is true that cancers have considerable genetic heterogeneity, there are certain features that are common to many cancers. Being able to target one of these features would be a great step forward.
Pardon my cynicism, an effective cure for cancer would cost too much. Big Pharma (FDA) won’t allow it.
Quite true — but cancer has a nasty way of evading and surviving vulnerabilities even where animal studies have shown great success. So far, the new drug has not even been tried in humans, let alone shown to be safe and effective.
Oh, I know that very well. If you’ll notice, I used all of that wishy-washy language that scientists are infamous for. Would, could, might, and all that.
There is not such thing as big pharma. There are a number of companies in competition with each other. A cancer cure would make the company that owned the patent very rich.
Thanks for the information. My wife has myeloma with genetic complications. This gives us hope for the long term.
“Pardon my cynicism, an effective cure for cancer would cost too much. Big Pharma (FDA) wont allow it.”
Can’t grant you a pardon. “Big Pharma” is keeping my wife alive and enjoying her grandchildren.
On the other hand, I love your tag line!
I just had this procedure done. My cancer is gone.
No cutting. Quick recovery. I’m alive.
Thank you God!
Researchers are testing anti-cancer drug cocktails to deal with this problem. Two or three drugs attacking the cancer cells in different ways. Same approach as is used with AIDS treatment.
There has been some tremendous advances made using ‘unapproved’ techniques in curing cancers. The medical industry hates these cures because there is absolutely no money to be made from them. Most folks are too afraid to try them until they get to stage four and there’s nothing else for them to grab onto.
Personally, I wait and hope for a cure for cancer — it, not heart disease, is the most common cause of death in my family.
Such cocktails do seem to work better — yet side effects and toxicities can be compounded as well.