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http://online.wsj.com/search/date.html# ... 9541766867

New Clues to Timing

Cancer Treatment

'Smart' Drugs Create Window

Of Time When Radiation,

Chemo May Be More Effective



February 7, 2006; Page D1

A series of clinical trials are opening this year to explore a newly discovered window of time when cancer treatments may work more effectively.

While newer drugs along with chemotherapy and radiation have improved cancer survival rates in recent decades, doctors have long debated why the treatments don't work even better. Even the latest generation of medications -- so-called "smart drugs" that target a tumor or its blood supply -- often prolong life by only a few months.

Now cancer researchers are investigating the idea that there is a narrow period -- following treatment with certain smart drugs -- when changes in the body allow chemotherapy or radiation to be particularly effective. If oncologists can identify and exploit this window, it could lead to improved survival rates. And because the window involves changes in blood vessels, the effort could have implications for other diseases affected by blood vessels, such as macular degeneration and heart disease.

At research facilities around the country, including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, researchers are recruiting patients with ovarian cancer, head-and-neck cancers, brain cancer and sarcoma to participate in several small trials that will explore this window. Studies will use investigational drugs from Novartis AG and AstraZeneca PLC, as well as existing smart drugs like Genentech Inc.'s Avastin, and Nexavar from Bayer Pharmaceuticals Corp. and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. Some funding and drugs are being provided by the National Cancer Institute.

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