The hype over Judah Folkman’s
research into the effects of angiostatin and endostatin on mice reached
a fever pitch in the first week of May after The New York Times ran a
front page story which quoted Nobel laureate Dr. James Watson claiming,
“Judah is going to cure Cancer in two years.”
is important, but this level of hype was ridiculous. Both of these drugs
are at least a year away from being tested in human beings. Folkman certainly
has a creative approach to stopping cancer. The compounds he’s investigating
work by cutting of the blood supply to cancerous tumors thereby causing
them to shrink and disappear — at least in mice. Chemotherapy research
into mice achieved similar results, but when applied to humans was far
less effective than the trials with mice indicated.
Even if Folkman’s research
doesn’t create a “cure” for cancer, however, what he has
learned from his animal experiments represent important advances in human
understanding of cancer. The idea that the blood supply of cancerous tumors
could be blocked was considered ludicrous when Folkman began working on
the idea; thanks to Folkman’s experiments understanding of cancer
tumors is much improved.
Eric Noonan, “Cancer drugs effective in mice; human testing planned.”
Associated Press, May 3, 1998.
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