ad info




CNNin
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 AIDS
 Alternative
 Cancer
 Diet & Fitness
 Heart
 Men
 Seniors
 Women
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
Health

A year after raising hopes, tumor-starving drugs still in lab

Drug & image of drug working
Researchers treated cancer in mice by cutting off the blood flow to the tumors with anti-angiogenesis compounds

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Dan Rutz looks at this expanding area of cancer research
Windows Media 28K 80K
 

May 7, 1999
Web posted at: 9:27 p.m. EDT (0127 GMT)

From Medical Correspondent Dan Rutz

BOSTON (CNN) -- It's been a year since researchers generated excitement by announcing a novel way of treating cancer -- by cutting off the flow of blood to tumors in mice.

But a year later, Dr. Judah Folkman and his work remain bound to the lab and out of the limelight.

Human trials of his anti-angiogenesis compounds -- endostatin and angiostatin -- are due to begin later this year. It was the combination of those two drugs that reportedly cured cancer in mice.

Angiogenesis is the formation of blood vessels. The anti-angiogenesis compounds can block development of microscopic blood vessels and cut off the tumor's lifeline.

The hope is that by preventing angiogenesis, cancerous tumors will lose their ability to grow and spread.

At the Angiogenesis Foundation in Boston, telephone operators have been busy linking doctors and patients to this expanding area of cancer research.

"Patients are asking about angiogenesis, doctors are learning about angiogenesis, biotechnology companies are developing medicines based on angiogenesis and Wall Street is fueling the development of this new approach in medicine," said Dr. William Li of the Angiogenesis Foundation.

Thalidomide tested on cancer patients

While the two drugs from Folkman's lab have yet to make it to patients' bedsides, nearly two dozen anti-angiogenic drugs are being tried in people with cancer.

One of those drugs is thalidomide, a drug best known for causing tragic birth defects 40 years ago when doctors in some countries prescribed if for nausea in early pregnancy. The drug may have interrupted essential blood vessel growth in the womb, which affected the growth of limbs in the developing babies.

Today, under stringent safeguards to prevent pregnancy, the anti-angiogenic effects of thalidomide are being tested against brain tumors. Early results show it may keep some tumors from growing larger.

"I think the thalidomide experience in advanced tumors that we've looked at has given us some proof of principle," said Dr. Howard Fine of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Fine expects that thalidomide and other drugs like it will eventually be used in combination with standard cancer treatments or combined with other anti-angiogenic compounds.

"The other major area is to begin to look at the use of these compounds much earlier in the course of treatment of the patient with the disease," Fine said.

As with Folkman's compounds, thalidomide first proved itself in mice, where it did not cause birth defects -- an example of why scientists are wary that promising results will necessarily carry over from the cage to the clinic.



RELATED STORIES:
Chicken embryo research may lead to new cancer treatments
April 19, 1999
FDA delays approval of new diet drug amid cancer concern
May 13, 1998
Scientists play down cancer-cure frenzy
May 6, 1998
Promising new cancer treatment has people buzzing
May 5, 1998

RELATED SITES:
The Angiogenesis Foundation Home Page
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

LATEST HEALTH STORIES:
China SARS numbers pass 5,000
Report: Form of HIV in humans by 1940
Fewer infections for back-sleeping babies
Pneumonia vaccine may help heart, too
 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.