- 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
- 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.