[MOL] BC-Lung-Colon Drug Series 2 of 2... [01039] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] BC-Lung-Colon Drug Series 2 of 2...

|  Other dangerous side effects of anti-VEGF treatment include
|  high blood pressure and blood clots.
|  Dr. Lee Rosen of the University of California at Los Angeles
|  tested Sugen's anti-VEGF drug, code-named SU5416, in
|  combination with standard chemotherapy on 28 people with
|  advanced colon cancer. The combination stopped cancer
|  growth for an average of 91/2 months, compared with six
|  months for the usual therapy.
|  Of the 28, ''25 are still alive, some as long as a year so far,
|  and they are all doing very, very well,'' Rosen said. Although
|  the study is small, ``the data are very interesting and very
|  promising. This really validates the target. By regulating VEGF,
|  we seem to be doing something.''
|  Doctors were pleasantly surprised in these studies to see
|  evidence that the anti-VEGF drugs seem to make tumors
|  shrink. In theory, they might have halted cancer's spread while
|  doing nothing to make them go away.
|  The data from these studies are promising enough for Sugen
|  and Genentech to begin large studies that will enroll several
|  hundred cancer patients in an attempt to prove that the two
|  drugs actually lengthen patients' lives.
|  ``I continue to feel this is an enormously interesting way to
|  treat patients with cancer,'' said Dr. Susan Hellman,
|  Genentech's development chief. ``Now we need to move into
|  the next phase and see how much we will help patients and
|  what the risks will be.''
|  Much of the enthusiasm for blocking blood vessels came from
|  optimistic coverage of the development of the drugs endostatin
|  and angiostatin by Harvard's Dr. Judah Folkman, the field's
|  pioneer.
|  Endostatin is in early testing at three hospitals, and
|  participating doctors have been silent about the effects so far.
|  At the meeting Monday, Folkman said he is ``very pleased''
|  with the results in Boston.
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