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Hercerptin, shaken not stirred

Treating tumors with the monoclonal antibody herceptin can bypass drug resistance problems.

Tudor Toma(t.toma@ic.ac.uk)

Tumors can develop drug resistance to single angiogenic factor treatments, and with the exception of a cocktail of multiple anti-angiogenic drugs, there are few other treatments available to overcome this problem. But in March 21 Nature, Yotaro Izumi and colleagues from Harvard Medical School show that herceptin — a monoclonal antibody against the cell surface receptor of human epidermal growth factor (HER2) — is a single agent that can act as an anti-angiogenic cocktail.

Izumi et al. observed that herceptin induces normalization and regression of the vasculature in an experimental human breast tumor that overexpresses HER2 in mice. In addition, they showed that herceptin had multiple mechanisms of action and works by modulating the effects of numerous pro- and anti-angiogenic factors (Nature 2002, 416:279-280).

"As a single agent that acts against multiple targets, herceptin, or drugs like it, may offer a simple alternative to combination anti-angiogenic...

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