The Angiogenesis Foundation Convenes Top Cancer Experts to Revise Methods For Testing Modern Cancer Treatments

May 11, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Angiogenesis Foundation

    SAN FRANCISCO, May 11 /PRNewswire/ -- To pave the way for new cancer
 therapies, the Angiogenesis Foundation will convene an expert panel of 15
 cancer specialists to challenge the methods used to test antiangiogenic drugs
 in cancer patients.  The symposium "Clinical Trials of Antiangiogenic Therapy
 for Cancer: Issues, Problems, Solutions" will take place today at the Fairmont
 Hotel, San Francisco.  Dr. William W. Li, President of the Angiogenesis
 Foundation will co-chair the event along with Dr. Lee Rosen of UCLA Jonsson
 Cancer Center, and Dr. Lee Ellis of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.  The
 distinguished panel will discuss the clinical challenges faced by developers
 of antiangiogenic drugs that starve tumors by cutting off their blood supply.
     "The time has come to take a critical look at the methods used to test
 modern cancer drugs," commented Dr. Li.  "We are moving beyond chemotherapy,
 towards better, safer agents.  Along with these improvements comes the need to
 update the way we design clinical trials."  Historically, clinical trials of
 cancer drugs deliver high doses of toxic drugs for short periods of time, and
 measure tumor shrinkage as the 'gold standard' of success.  In contrast,
 antiangiogenic drugs selectively attack only abnormal blood vessels feeding
 cancer cells.  Such agents are generally well-tolerated and may not require
 the maximum tolerated dose in order to deliver their benefits. By halting
 tumor growth, cancer patients can continue to live productive lives.
 "Antiangiogenic therapy promises to transform cancer from an acute lethal
 disease into a chronic manageable condition, like diabetes," said Dr. Li.
     The Angiogenesis Foundation is concerned, however, that using the
 traditional rules of cancer trials could make a breakthrough antiangiogenic
 drug look like a failure.  "Based on the biology of these drugs, I believe
 we'll need to treat earlier and treat longer, use lower doses, and we will
 need new endpoints," noted Li.  "Rather than focus on tumor shrinkage, we need
 to focus on survival, disease stabilization, and improved quality of life.
 This is a major paradigm shift for all the players involved in cancer drug
     Five antiangiogenic drugs, Marimastat, Prinomastat, MMi-270A, Bay 12,9566,
 and SU101, have already been halted in development after failing
 conventionally-designed cancer trials. To avoid unnecessary future failures,
 the panel will discuss how clinical trial design should be updated to match
 the new molecular processes being targeted.  Among the issues to be covered by
 the experts:
     -- How the "new biology" of cancer leads to different expected outcomes
        from traditional cancer trials
     -- What concerns the biopharmaceutical industry has in changing long held
        trial practices
     -- Which clinical endpoints and biological markers reflect successful
        antiangiogenic therapy
     -- What new imaging technologies are available for tracking tumor blood
     -- What are the regulatory considerations for antiangiogenic agents
     -- What are the long-term treatment concerns such as side effects and
        acquired drug resistance
     The expert panel includes specialists from Montreal Jewish General
 Hospital, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, USC Norris Cancer
 Center, University of Arizona, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sunnybrook Health
 Sciences Center, Stanford University, Harvard Medical School, University of
 Pennsylvania, UCLA, SUGEN/Pharmacia, Indiana University, and the U.S. Food and
 Drug Administration. The Angiogenesis Foundation has invited an audience of
 high-ranking industry executives, National Cancer Institute officials, FDA
 members, financial analysts, and journalists to attend the symposium
     The Angiogenesis Foundation ( is a nonprofit organization
 based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1994, its mission is to improve
 global health by facilitating the development and application of angiogenesis-
 based Medicine, through effective research and education. The Foundation
 worked collaborated with the National Cancer Institute in 2000 to develop new
 imaging standards for cancer clinical trials, and has presented findings to
 the Food and Drug Administration, the Health Care Finance Administration, and
 the Congressional Women's Caucus on Capitol Hill.
 Contact:  Lori Atwater (617) 576-5708
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here

SOURCE The Angiogenesis Foundation