From disdain to hype, to mixed results in clinical trials, a sobering reality is setting in for researchers pursuing antiangiogenesis as a treatment for cancer: It is not as straightforward as once hoped. The idea is that choking off a tumor's blood supply will slow or eliminate its growth. But several clinical trials following this line of inquiry have failed or been discontinued.
This past February, for example, Sugen, a division of Peapack, NJ-based Pharmacia, announced it was aborting its Phase III colorectal cancer clinical trial of SU5416, as no clinical benefit was found. SU5416 is a small-molecule angiogenesis inhibitor that blocks the action of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF-R) in endothelial cells, which is critical for new blood vessel formation.1
Earlier this year, Joanne Yu and colleagues at the Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre in Toronto provided a possible, partial explanation for the disappointing...
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