What are the drug treatments?

Current drug treatments are very effective in some cancers - childhood leukaemias, Hodgkin lymphoma and testicular cancer - but less good for others. Scientists are investigating why some tumours respond to chemotherapy and others do not. For example, some drugs kill tumours by forcing cancer cells to commit suicide, a process known as apoptosis. Tumour cells that have genetic changes affecting the cells' ability to go through apoptosis are often more resistant to drugs.

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Tamoxifen is a drug used to treat breast cancer.

New drugs?

Scientists are using the increasing knowledge of the way tumours develop and grow to design new drugs. One new treatment uses an antibody to breast cancer cells in conjunction with chemotherapy to reduce the tumour size. Doctors have found that drug treatments like tamoxifen - used together with surgery and radiotherapy to treat breast cancer - help prevent further disease. Such drugs may in the future be used as a preventative measure for people with an increased genetic risk of disease.

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Scientists are developing new drugs to treat cancer.


Principal Funder:

Wellcome trust

Major Sponsors:

GlaxoSmithKline life technologies