First Cancer Drug to Starve Tumor

The first drug in a class of drugs designed to treat cancer by compromising its blood supply has been approved by the FDA. The drug, called Avastin (bevacizumab), prevents angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that supply the tumor with blood, oxygen and other nutrients and allow it to grow and spread to other sites in the body.

Avastin is now approved for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. This new drug will not be cheap --- a year's supply costs about $50,000. Avastin given along with traditional chemotherapy currently can extend life expectancy by about five months. Not a lot of extra time, but it is a step in the right direction.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors,

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