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Toward Bold New Anti-Cancer Medicines

October 28, 2009

Bold new strategies in the battle against cancer may turn forms of the disease that presently are incurable into manageable conditions that can be controlled for long periods of time, according to an article in the current issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine.

C&EN Senior Editor Lisa Jarvis notes that “molecularly targeted” drugs are having a major impact in treating cancer of the breast, colon, and other body parts. Those medications interfere with specific molecules involved in cancer’s growth and spread. However, further advances are critical.

One new strategy involves cutting off cancer cells’ supply of blood sugar, or glucose, and thus starving them to death. Another uses RNA interference, a form of gene therapy in which short RNA segments serve as medication to block the genes involved in cancer. Although scientists face major hurdles in developing effective methods for administering RNA-based medicines, they are making rapid progress in doing so.

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