SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Trials Overlook Cancer Spread
from the Scientist (Registration Required)
When people die from breast cancer, it is mostly because their original tumours have metastasized to other organs. However, clinical trials for cancer drugs are focused on shrinking existing tumors, not preventing cancer spread. According to Patricia Steeg from the National Cancer Institute, this emphasis is stifling the discovery of chemicals that could prevent metastasis--costing money and patient lives.
In a comment piece, published in Nature, Steeg calls on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to usher in a new type of randomized clinical trial that will demonstrate if drugs could stop breast cancer from spreading.
Animal studies have identified several compounds could potentially prevent metastasis, but these chemicals often do not kill cancer cells or tumors that have already spread. When they make it to phase II clinical trials, which are designed to test their effectiveness, they fail to shrink established tumors and are no longer pursued as potential cancer treatments. As Steeg wrote in her piece, "the drug company loses the money invested in development; the scientists who worked on these compounds lose a potentially valid clinical lead compound; and the patients continue to lose their lives."
Connect With Us:
PODCASTS: From Balloons to Space Stations: Studying Cosmic Rays
Cosmic rays have mysterious qualities about them that scientists continue to research in order to better understand their origins and composition. Dr. Eun-Suk Seo, a professor of physics at the University of Maryland, and her colleagues, fly enormous balloons as large as a football stadium and a volume of 40-million-cubic feet for extended periods over Antarctica to study particles coming from cosmic rays before they break up in the atmosphere.
To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.