A Pill a Day to Keep Cancer Away?

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | September 23, 2009

In mice, Dr. Satchi-Fainaro's drugs were able to inhibit about half of all growth of drug-resistant tumors. In other, more drug-sensitive, tumors, "[We] basically eradicated the tumor or tumor metastasis, or got them back to dormant size -- about one millimeter," she says.

"I'm very realistic," she says. "If I can regress the massive angiogenesis, and get [tumors] to regress to dormant size, it's basically transforming cancer into a chronically manageable disease, like diabetes. As long as we have drugs that are non-toxic, we can keep the tumors at this size and live like that [taking the drugs]."

Dr. Satchi-Fainaro thinks this "tumor dormancy model" will be most appropriate for populations like women with mutations to the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, who have such a high risk for deadly breast cancer they often have both their breasts removed in precautionary double mastectomies. "To those women," Dr. Satchi-Fainaro says, "this can be a much better physical prophylactic treatment."

Currently, Dr. Satchi-Fainaro is licensing this treatment to a pharmaceutical company (she won't say which), and is also trying to figure out why cancers seem to thrive in bones. "That's the six million dollar question," she says.

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