Tags: new | cancer | drugs | less | toxic | chemotherapy | T-DM1

New Cancer Drugs May Be Less Toxic

Friday, 01 Jun 2012 12:23 PM

Drugs that treat cancer are known for their long list of toxic side effects, including nausea and fatigue, as they "carpet bomb" the body, killing healthy cells as well as cancerous ones. But a new class of drugs that will target cancerous cells and spare healthy ones is on the horizon. One such drug, called T-DM1, is a combination of the drug Herceptin and a toxic chemotherapy medication that targets breast cancer by conveying a lethal dose straight to the cancerous cells while avoiding healthy ones.
These "stealth" chemotherapy drugs are a step toward the "magic bullet" against cancer that has been sought for almost 100 years. “It’s almost like we’re masking the chemotherapy,” Dr. Edith Perez, a breast cancer specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., told The New York Times.
The innovative treatments, which are known variously as antibody-drug conjugates, armed antibodies, or empowered antibodies, are being developed by numerous pharmaceutical companies, and about 25 drugs are currently in clinical trials.
Drugs such as Herceptin, Rituxan, and Eribitux are examples of current immune-targeted therapy. They mimic the antibodies produced by the immune system and attach to proteins on the surface of cancer cells that cause the cancer to grow and spread. Since their effectiveness is limited, they're combined with conventional chemotherapy drugs that cause toxic side effects because they attack healthy cells as well as cancerous ones.
The new therapies attach a toxin to the antibody, says The New York Times, increasing its capacity to kill cancerous cells while lowering the need for toxic drugs. Like a Trojan horse, the toxin isn't released until it's taken inside the cell.
To read the complete New York Times story—Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

   
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Drugs that treat cancer are known for their long list of toxic side effects, including nausea and fatigue, but a new class of drugs will target cancerous cells and spare healthy ones.
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2012-23-01
Friday, 01 Jun 2012 12:23 PM
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