Breaking developments in combination therapy and new chemotherapeutics

October 25, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

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Hi everyone,

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow is first day of volunteer orientation at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. MDA is nestled within the depths of the The Texas Medical Center, a system of over 40 government and not-for-profit institutions making it the largest medical center in the world. As a small town girl, it’s a pretty amazing sight to see (except around rush hour when it loses its charm just a little).

MD Anderson has some of the best and brightest cancer physicians and research scientists in the world. This week, many of them are in San Francisco, California discussing their findings at the International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, the joint meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, and the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer. This annual meeting is one of the world’s leading conferences covering breakthroughs in new developments in chemotherapeutics. Here’s some of the latest daily headlines from the meeting, courtesy of AACR:

Clinical Studies in the Pipeline: The Therapies of Tomorrow in Trials Today

Studies presented at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics demonstrate the flexibility of targeted therapy techniques, where new drugs can be developed and tested in human trials more quickly and safely than ever before.

Advances in Drug Screening: Building a Better Haystack for the Needles of Tomorrow

With the discovery of suitable molecular targets – cellular molecules along pathways crucial for sustaining the life of cancer cells – comes the perplexing dilemma of where to find the next therapeutics that will bind to and disable those targets. While the possibilities for drug designs are near-limitless, the methods to screen drug databases and repositories are often problematic or ill-suited for the particular needs of researchers. . . Researchers report new means of delving into vast stores of data in search of potential therapies, whether to find the next natural cancer fighter or to discover new classes of therapeutics.

Combination Targets: Some Drugs May Work Best When They Work Together

While some targeted therapies – drugs developed to attack specific molecules in the critical chemical pathways occurring within cancer cells – work well by themselves, increasingly researchers are finding that they work better when teamed with other targeted and conventional therapies.

Reported today at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, multiple-target applications of new and existing drugs are offering new hope in the fight against cancer and drug resistance, from lung and breast cancer to rare tumors of the bile duct.

Experimental Cancer Pharmaceuticals under Trial

Advances in drug development have enabled scientists to attack new and unconventional cancer targets, leading to better treatments for cancer patients with fewer unwanted side effects. The following items highlight the early results from two experimental therapeutics, currently involved in Phase I or II trials, which are being presented today at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics.

A Fresh Look at Existing Therapies: Researchers Explore Ways to Teach Approved Drugs New Tricks

Although all cancers are not alike, most share common causes, whether it is the result of a genetic mutation or faulty biochemical signaling pathway. For that reason, drugs developed specifically for one disease might have an impact on many others. Increasingly, researchers are discovering ways of combining new and existing drugs to fight cancer – broadening the targets of already-approved targeted therapeutics.

Today at the AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, researchers present the results of some of these investigations, whether it is finding a new use for the immunosuppressant rapamycin or adapting the use of approved antibodies to reach the same targets within different cancers.

Targets on the Horizon: Emerging Therapies and Novel Targets

New targets, such as cell signaling receptors found on cancer tumors, provide tantalizing targets for engineered antibodies and small inhibitory molecules. New therapeutic technologies, such as virus-based therapy against cancers metastasized to nerve cells and a unique two-headed antibody that attaches killer T cells to tumor cells, offer promising methods for controlling disease

Lots of cool stuff out there, and it makes me miss being in the lab a little bit. Wish me luck for tomorrow!

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