Archive for 2002

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Are Triplets Better?


At the 20th Annual Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York, N.Y., this past November there were numerous presentations about advances in chemotherapy clinical trials that used triplets — combinations of three chemotherapy agents as opposed to more conventional single or double agent therapy. BenchMarks summarizes several presentations that revolve around two newer classes of drugs, called taxanes and platinums, which make up many of the new triplets. BenchMarks also talked to Elise Kohn, M.D., principal investigator, Laboratory of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, to get her perspective on clinical trial design and drug choice.

Taxanes and Platinum Drugs in Cancer Treatment


The taxanes are a group of drugs that includes paclitaxel (Taxol┬«) and docetaxel (Taxotere┬«). Taxanes have a unique way of preventing the growth of cancer cells by affecting cell structures called microtubules, which play an important role in cell function. In normal cell growth, pre-existing microtubules, which support cell shape and act as “highways” for transport of materials inside the cell, are completely rearranged into a machine called the spindle when a cell starts dividing.

Cancer Prevention on the Move

Food and Cancer

“Rather than trying to cure end-stage cancer, we need to redirect our focus to preventing the disease,” said Michael B. Sporn, M.D., Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H. “This means controlling the carcinogenic process before the complex series of events that result in metastatic malignancy have occurred. We have to get rid of the common misconception that people are healthy until they are told they have an invasive cancer. The process leading to cancer takes many, many years.”

BenchMarks interviewed Sporn, Peter Greenwald, M.D., Dr.P.H., director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention, and other cancer prevention leaders to look at how science is learning to intervene in the carcinogenic process and take new pathways toward progress.