A drug that cured cancer in mice has been proved safe in people. Nineteen patients with various cancers received daily intravenous infusions of the drug angiostatin for up to 6 months without showing any serious side effects, says study coauthor Robert L. Capizzi, an oncologist at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Before the test, all the patients had failed to improve during chemotherapy.
Researchers and the public are closely watching angiostatin’s progress. In laboratory animals, it prevents a tumor from creating a system of blood vessels through which to get nutrients.
Although the drug appears safe, it’s too early to tell whether it actually works in people, Capizzi says. Some patients died from their disease during the study. Those who had to undergo surgery, however, all healed properly, despite angiostatin’s inhibition of blood vessel growth, Capizzi says. He presented results of the preliminary study last month at an American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in San Francisco.