402 medicines in the pipeline for cancer

June 1, 2001

Pharmaceutical Representative

Pharmaceutical researchers are developing 402 new weapons to target cancer, many of which will be alternatives to standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments that are frequently destructive to healthy tissue as well as cancerous cells, according to a new survey by the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Pharmaceutical researchers are developing 402 new weapons to target cancer, many of which will be alternatives to standard radiation and chemotherapy treatments that are frequently destructive to healthy tissue as well as cancerous cells, according to a new survey by the Washington-based Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

"What researchers are working on today will radically change the way we will think of cancer treatment in the future," said PhRMA President Alan F. Holmer. "There's a great emphasis on zeroing in on the root causes of disease. The 402 medicines in the pipeline for cancer represent almost a doubling of the research effort on cancer, up from 215 therapies in development just six years ago."

Cancer types

The medicines in development include:


•Â 68 for lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death in the United States.


•Â 59 for breast cancer, which strikes one out of every 10 American women.


•Â 55 for colon cancer, which has the third highest incidence of any cancer site for American men.


•Â 52 for skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest form, whose incidence has grown 4% per year since the 1970s.


•Â 52 for prostate cancer, which takes 37,000 lives a year.

Other cancer medicines in development target solid tumors, sarcomas, pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, liver cancer, leukemia, kidney cancer, head and neck cancers, cervical cancer, brain cancer, stomach cancer and bladder cancer.

Of the medicines in development, 17 have already completed 12 to 15 years of testing and are either waiting for or currently in review by the Food and Drug Administration. Some of the medicines may become available to patients this year.

"Thanks in large part to medicines developed in the past decade, cancer deaths are on the decline," Holmer said. "But cancer is still the second leading cause of American deaths by disease. The 402 medicines in the pipeline for cancer offer tangible hope of stemming this terrible toll and, one day, winning the war against cancer." PR