Thursday, January 20, 2011

GREAT STORY - New Drug for Breast Cancer

Dr. Robert J. Brueck MD, Fort Myers cosmetic surgeon, frequently blogs here about matters of health, skin care, medicine and cosmetic surgery. Additional information health and cosmetic surgery procedures may be found at Dr. Brueck's website,

Drug research and development is a very expensive frustrating and in many cases rewarding endeavor. Many of our current "miracle Drugs" have a very unique and interesting beginning.

One such story involves a new drug recently approved by the FDA for breast cancer by the name of Haloven (equally interesting is how they get these names).

Haloven comes from a compound called halicondrin B which was isolated from a black sponge that lives off of the coast of Japan. This substance was found to block cell division in a somewhat unique way. Collaboration between researchers of the National Cancer Institute and Eisai of Japan led to commercial production of Haloven which is one of the most complex small molecule drugs ever made commercially.

Many drugs derived from nature can have nasty side effects and damage normal cells. Researchers study a disease process and then look for "targeted" drugs to interrupt or change the path of development.

Some of the more common drugs you may know have their origin in "nature."

Aspirin comes from willow bark. The active ingredient in salicylic acid. Malaria has been in the news a lot and one of the more common remedies in glunine which comes form the bark of the cinchona tree. Taxol, a very common drug used to treat breast cancer comes form the Pacific yen tree.

So you never know what treasure lies in your backyard waiting to be discovered.

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