Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: A Q&A with an Extraordinary Healer
June 30, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Types of Kidney Cancer
June 25, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Helpful Advice
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Developing a Strategy
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Searching for New Targets
June 23, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: When Survivors Should Exercise Caution
June 22, 2009 – Lena Huang
Web Exclusive: Fertility Guidelines Not Meeting Needs of Patients
June 22, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: A Peaceful Spirit
June 18, 2009 – Toby Bressler, RN, BSN, OCN
Web Exclusive: The Voice on the Other End of the Phone
June 18, 2009 – Dianne Ericson
Excerpt: Stronger
June 17, 2009 – Natalie Flechsig
Web Exclusive: An Infection Out of Nowhere
June 16, 2009
Web Exclusive: Solving a Medical Mystery
June 16, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Web Exclusive: Clinical Trials for CUP
June 16, 2009
Childhood Cancer Survivorship Programs
June 16, 2009
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book
June 15, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Improved Care Needed for Patients Receiving Heart-Toxic Drugs
June 15, 2009 – Melissa Weber
Cancer Research Receives Infusion of Federal Funds
June 15, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Resources
June 09, 2009
P.S. A Word About Implants & Some Unanswered Questions
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
How to Find a Cancer Trainer
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Smarter Trials for Smarter Drugs
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Sticker Shock
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Resources
June 09, 2009
From Cancer Warrior to Basketball Player
June 09, 2009 – Deirdre Carey
Taking a Closer Look
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Surgical Strategies
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Hair Loss Snapshot
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Weighing the Techniques
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
What About CUP Patients?
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
Hard Times
June 09, 2009 – Joanne Kenen
Reconstruction Do-Overs
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Fighting Fatigue
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Disjointed Custody
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
No I.D.
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
ASCO Updates
June 09, 2009 – Staff Reports
Interventions Needed to Get Survivors Moving
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
The Financial Advocate
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course
June 09, 2009
Q & A: Prostate Cancer Screening
June 09, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
www.armyofwomen.org
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
With a Friend Like Will Ferrell...
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Program Keeps Tabs on Childhood Cancer Survivors
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Revisiting the Seasons of Survival
June 09, 2009 – Kenneth D. Miller, MD
Prostate, Brain & Kidney Cancers
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Life Beyond Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Renée La Forest
Good Grilling
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Medical Devices Face Stricter Regulations
June 09, 2009 – Jo Cavallo
All Is Not Lost
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Letters from Our Readers
June 09, 2009
Message from the Editor
June 09, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Targeted Therapy: Hope or Hype?
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Conquering Cancer & the Classroom
June 09, 2009 – Scott Williams
Reining in Renal Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: Find a Clinical Trial That's Right for You
July 09, 2009
Web Exclusive: A Q&A with an Extraordinary Healer
June 30, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Web Exclusive: Types of Kidney Cancer
June 25, 2009 – The American Cancer Society
Web Exclusive: Helpful Advice
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Developing a Strategy
June 25, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Currently Viewing
Web Exclusive: Searching for New Targets
June 23, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: Fertility Guidelines Not Meeting Needs of Patients
June 22, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
Web Exclusive: A Peaceful Spirit
June 18, 2009 – Toby Bressler, RN, BSN, OCN
Web Exclusive: The Voice on the Other End of the Phone
June 18, 2009 – Dianne Ericson
Excerpt: Stronger
June 17, 2009 – Natalie Flechsig
Web Exclusive: An Infection Out of Nowhere
June 16, 2009
Web Exclusive: Solving a Medical Mystery
June 16, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Web Exclusive: Clinical Trials for CUP
June 16, 2009
Childhood Cancer Survivorship Programs
June 16, 2009
Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book
June 15, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Improved Care Needed for Patients Receiving Heart-Toxic Drugs
June 15, 2009 – Melissa Weber
Cancer Research Receives Infusion of Federal Funds
June 15, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Resources
June 09, 2009
P.S. A Word About Implants & Some Unanswered Questions
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
How to Find a Cancer Trainer
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Smarter Trials for Smarter Drugs
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Sticker Shock
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Resources
June 09, 2009
From Cancer Warrior to Basketball Player
June 09, 2009 – Deirdre Carey
Taking a Closer Look
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Surgical Strategies
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson
Hair Loss Snapshot
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Weighing the Techniques
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
What About CUP Patients?
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
Hard Times
June 09, 2009 – Joanne Kenen
Reconstruction Do-Overs
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Fighting Fatigue
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Disjointed Custody
June 09, 2009 – Charlotte Huff
No I.D.
June 09, 2009 – Katy Human
ASCO Updates
June 09, 2009 – Staff Reports
Interventions Needed to Get Survivors Moving
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
The Financial Advocate
June 09, 2009 – Kathy LaTour
Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course
June 09, 2009
Q & A: Prostate Cancer Screening
June 09, 2009 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
www.armyofwomen.org
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
With a Friend Like Will Ferrell...
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Program Keeps Tabs on Childhood Cancer Survivors
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Revisiting the Seasons of Survival
June 09, 2009 – Kenneth D. Miller, MD
Prostate, Brain & Kidney Cancers
June 09, 2009 – Elizabeth Whittington
A Life Beyond Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Renée La Forest
Good Grilling
June 09, 2009 – Lena Huang
Medical Devices Face Stricter Regulations
June 09, 2009 – Jo Cavallo
All Is Not Lost
June 09, 2009 – Lacey Meyer
Letters from Our Readers
June 09, 2009
Message from the Editor
June 09, 2009 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Targeted Therapy: Hope or Hype?
June 09, 2009 – Laura Beil
Conquering Cancer & the Classroom
June 09, 2009 – Scott Williams
Reining in Renal Cancer
June 09, 2009 – Karen Patterson

Web Exclusive: Searching for New Targets

Newer targets found on cancer cells are providing scientists the ammunition to better treat cancer.  

BY Elizabeth Whittington
PUBLISHED June 23, 2009

Over the past two decades, more than a dozen cancer drugs have been approved that target a specific protein or cellular pathway unique to cancer cells, with many more being investigated in clinical trials. When a potential target has been identified, a new class of agents may emerge, such as antiangiogenic drugs, EGFR inhibitors, and mTOR inhibitors. (Read about these and other drug classes in “Cancer Therapies” from the CURE 2009 Cancer Resource Guide). There are many more novel agents in preclinical and early phase trials. Here are just a few of the newer classes of drugs making their mark in the oncology pipeline.

One class of drugs garnering attention after recent positive data were announced from two phase II studies in breast cancer is PARP inhibitors. Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase is a protein that looks for breaks in DNA and helps to repair those breaks. Unfortunately, PARP can also help cancer cells resist chemotherapy that targets the DNA of cancer cells. Researchers have looked at using PARP inhibitors as a single agent in cancers that have a single DNA-repair defect, as is the case for breast cancer patients with a BRCA mutation, as well as in combination with other drugs that target DNA repair pathways. Two drugs highlighted at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, BSI-201 and olaparib, will continue to be studied in larger trials in triple-negative and BRCA-associated breast cancer. PARP inhibitors are also in early clinical testing for ovarian and brain cancers. Read more about about BSI-201 and olaparib in “PARP Inhibitors Successful Against Hard-to-Treat Breast Cancer” from CURE’s 2009 coverage of ASCO.

Similar to antiangiogenic agents, such as Avastin (bevacizumab) and Sutent (sunitinib), which block the tumor’s ability to receive nutrients and oxygen via the bloodstream, vascular disrupting agents (VDAs) also impede the tumor’s blood supply. But unlike antiangiogenic drugs, which prevent the binding of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), a protein that signals blood vessel growth to the tumor, to its receptor, VDAs actually attack the blood vessels that are already formed near the tumor. Because of the method of action, researchers believe this may be a prime drug for a combination regimen with other targeted agents. Scientists are investigating one such VDA, cilengitide, in a phase III study in glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. (See how cilengitide works against brain tumors in “A Better Way to the Brain”). Other forms of cancer being explored include lung and head and neck cancers.

The hormone insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), a cousin of insulin, is thought to have a role in many types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, and lung cancers, as well as some types of sarcoma. Researchers believe that by inhibiting the IGF-1R pathway, cancer cells lose their ability to multiply and spread. Although no IGF-1R inhibitors have been approved in cancer, there are several in ongoing clinical trials alone or in combination with chemotherapeutic and biological agents. 

The HER family consists of four types of epidermal growth factor receptors, including the epidermal growth factor receptor 1 (HER1) and HER2. In 1998, Herceptin (trastuzumab) became the first approved drug to target a member of the HER family—HER2 (read more about HER2 in “Herceptin in the Spotlight” from the Spring 2006 issue). Nearly a decade later, Tykerb (lapatinib) went one step further, targeting both HER2 and HER1. Approvals for other drugs that target EGFR have been approved for lung, breast, and colorectal cancers. Now, researchers are examining other novel therapies that target more than one HER receptor. XL-647, a drug being tested in a phase II non-small cell lung cancer trial, targets HER1, HER2, and HER4 as well as other targets.

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