Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Smarter Cancer Drugs

Years of medical research has yielded the latest generation of anticancer drugs which are more selective than traditional cancer drugs which attack all dividing cells. These new anticancer drugs are just like smart bombs, they hone in on abnormalities particular to tumor cells and attack it, leaving all other cells untouched. Drugs like imatinib (Gleevec) and gefitinib (Iressa) are some of the new smart cancer drugs. However, Iressa is a last resort lung cancer drug and only works in about 10 to 20 percents of the patients.

Research conducted in 2004 from Harvard identified a genetic mutation in lung cancer cells that seem to predict whether Iressa will be effective. If the results hold up, tumor cells could be tested and only people likely to respond to Iressa would be given the drug. However, These new anticancer drugs are expensive, so having a genetic test instead of relying on trial and error could save a lot of money and spare some patients treatment with an anticancer drug that won't work for them.



Post a Comment

<< Home