Friday, August 27, 2010

August 27, 2010: Cancer-Fighting's New Cocktail Party

An article in Business Week, "Cocktails Are Next For Cancer-Drug Makers," highlights what its author calls a new development in cancer treatment. Comparing newly-developed cancer drug combinations to the drug cocktails that have been successful in treating HIV/AIDS, the author says:

"For more than a decade, cancer researchers have been crafting drugs to disrupt the precise cellular processes that fuel cancer, creating a $51 billion market in 2009. So far, the survival benefits have been measured in months, not years. That's because cancer, like the virus that causes AIDS, evolves rapidly to evade a single treatment. Rather than mixing and matching approved drugs, researchers are developing new, targeted combinations that work in tandem to block cancer.

'We're looking to see a radical change in terms of stopping the disease in its tracks,' says Tal Zaks, head of global oncology drug development at Sanofi in Paris. 'The return on investment here is not going to be just evolutionary; it has the potential to be revolutionary.'"

I don't get it. What's so new about chemo cocktails? I got R-CHOP (Rituximab, Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine and Prednisone) five years ago. Isn't that a targeted drug cocktail?

R-CHOP is concocted of three chemo agents and a steroid, linked up with Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody that does the targeting.

How is this different from what the Business Week article is talking about? Can anyone enlighten me?

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