Oncology & Cancer

Taxane + platinum feasible for adjuvant tx in endometrial cancer

(HealthDay)—Taxane plus platinum regimens may be a reasonable alternative to doxorubicin plus cisplatin as postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy for endometrial cancer that carries a high risk for progression, according to ...

Cardiology

Paclitaxel exposure in vascular device not linked to mortality

(HealthDay)—Exposure to paclitaxel in drug-coated balloons used in procedures for the treatment of symptomatic femoropopliteal peripheral arterial disease is not associated with mortality, according to a study published ...

Oncology & Cancer

Pembrolizumab not better than PTX for advanced gastric cancer

(HealthDay)—For patients with previously treated advanced gastric cancer or gastro-esophageal junction cancer, pembrolizumab does not result in a significant improvement in overall survival compared with paclitaxel, according ...

Oncology & Cancer

ICON8 trial reaffirms standard dosing in ovarian cancer chemo

European women with ovarian cancer can safely stick to the standard three-week dosing schedule for paclitaxel rather than boosting up to a weekly dose-dense regimen, according to results of the phase III ICON8 trial to be ...

Oncology & Cancer

Newfound effect of cancer drug may expand its use

A drug first designed to prevent cancer cells from multiplying has a second effect: it switches immune cells that turn down the body's attack on tumors back into the kind that amplify it. This is the finding of a study led ...

Medications

Ramucirumab in stomach cancer: Added benefit not proven

Ramucirumab (trade name: Cyramza) is a monoclonal antibody, which blocks a receptor, reducing the growth of blood vessels and so reducing blood supply to the tumours. This aims to slow the growth of the tumours. As a so-called ...

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Paclitaxel

Paclitaxel is a mitotic inhibitor used in cancer chemotherapy. It was discovered in a U.S. National Cancer Institute program at the Research Triangle Institute in 1967 when Monroe E. Wall and Mansukh C. Wani isolated it from the bark of the Pacific yew tree, Taxus brevifolia and named it taxol. When it was developed commercially by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) the generic name was changed to paclitaxel and the BMS compound is sold under the trademark TAXOL. In this formulation, paclitaxel is dissolved in Cremophor EL and ethanol, as a delivery agent. A newer formulation, in which paclitaxel is bound to albumin, is sold under the trademark Abraxane.

Paclitaxel is now used to treat patients with lung, ovarian, breast cancer, head and neck cancer, and advanced forms of Kaposi's sarcoma. Paclitaxel is also used for the prevention of restenosis.

Paclitaxel stabilizes microtubules and as a result, interferes with the normal breakdown of microtubules during cell division. Together with docetaxel, it forms the drug category of the taxanes. It was the subject of a notable total synthesis by Robert A. Holton.

While offering substantial improvement in patient care, paclitaxel has been a relatively controversial drug. There was originally concern because of the environmental impact of its original sourcing, no longer used, from the Pacific yew. In addition, the assignment of rights, and even the name itself, to Bristol-Myers Squibb were the subject of public debate and Congressional hearings.

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