anhinga_anhinga (anhinga_anhinga) wrote,

Anti-angiogenesis drugs :-(

I still remember time when great hopes in anti-cancer therapy were raised in connection with drugs blocking formation of new blood vessels. And (as it is often the case) the results in mice were great.Then the hopes dimmed, and the controversial approval of Avastin by FDA in 2008 against the recommendation of its advisory panel underscored the fact that the advances were quite marginal (the panel objected because for that class of tumors Avastin only slowed tumor growth but failed to extend survival):

Here is an article which seems to shed some light on why the "magic bullet" does not quite work:

In this particular case, very low doses of the chemical in question (cilengitide) instead promote the formation of new blood vessels and growth of tumor, and, unfortunately, the concentration in the tissue is quite non-uniform, both time-wise and in terms of distribution in the different areas of the body, so the patient would often have at least some areas of very low concentration of the chemical, with the adverse effect in those areas.

These negative results are still quite early, and it's not clear how general these new results are (e.g. whether they hold for Avastin), but I think this sheds some light on the situation.
Tags: health studies, troubles with scientific establishment
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