New Drugs Totally Vanquish
All Cancer In Lab Mice.
Humans Next?
Rocky Mountain News
Scripps Howard News Service
BOSTON (AP) - The man who discovered a drug combination that wipes out cancer in mice called the treatment "very promising" but urged caution Sunday, saying the success might not carry over to humans.
Dr. Judah Folkman, a Harvard professor and researcher at Boston's Children's Hospital, said the drugs - which have been proven to wipe out all forms of cancer in mice - may have potentially dramatic effects on human cancers.
"But we have to be careful with expectations," Folkman warned. "We know the proteins work on mice but the important thing is determining whether they work on people."
Researchers hope within a year to begin testing the drugs on humans.
"I am putting nothing on higher priority than getting this into clinical trials," Dr. Richard Klausner, director of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, told the New York Times. The drugs - angiostatin and endostatin - work by cutting off the blood supply to tumors. Given intravenously, tumors in mice have shrunk and disappeared altogether.
The development of the pair - called anti-angiogenesis drugs - caps a 30-year research process that began when Folkman reasoned tumors cannot grow or spread without a steady blood supply.
A major development in the work to find cancer inhibitors came more than a decade ago when Folkman and other researchers developed a first generation of cancer-inhibiting drugs that slowed the growth of tumors in animals.
Experiments with these early cancer inhibitors in human patients over the last five years have shown tumor-shrinkage as well, Folkman said. The new proteins take the cancer therapy one step further.
Like Folkman, Klausner also urged caution, saying, in human trials, he wants to emphasize "the ifs." Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson, who directs a cancer-research centre in New York City, said Folkman's research may be as significant as Charles Darwin's. "Judah is going to cure cancer in two years," Watson told the New York Times.

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