Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Next Cancer Treatments to Target Blood Supply

New Generation of Cancer Drugs Shows Promise in Starving Tumors

WebMD Health News

May 10, 2004 -- A new approach in cancer treatment that uses drugs designed to cut off the tumor's blood supply may soon become a valuable tool in improving existing cancer therapies.

The treatment involves using drugs that target and destroy blood vessel networks within the tumor to starve it of oxygen and other vital nutrients, which prevents further growth as well as promotes cell death within the tumor itself. These blood vessel networks also provide the opportunity for tumor cells to spread.

A review of recent research on the experimental approach suggests this group of drugs, known as vascular-disrupting agents (VDAs), have been proven effective in early, phase I clinical trials. As this class of cancer drugs moves into phase II clinical trials, researchers say they will likely prove most successful when used in combination with conventional chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

New Approach in Cancer Treatment

Researchers say two different approaches in targeting blood vessel networks within tumors are currently under investigation. The first, known as angiogenic inhibitor treatment, aims to prevent the formation of new blood vessel networks within the tumor, and the drugs are given continually over months or years.

The second approach uses VDAs that are designed to destroy the already established blood vessel networks within a tumor and are given for short periods of time.

In their review of studies on VDAs appearing in the current issue of the journal Cancer, researchers report that this approach has produced exciting results in cutting off the blood supply to tumors and inducing cell death within the tumor in animal and laboratory tests.

In addition, use of VDAs in combination with radiation and other forms of chemotherapy has improved treatment outcomes in early human tests. These drugs also appear safe for use in combination with these conventional cancer treatments.

Phase II clinical trials of VDAs in humans are currently under way, and researchers say they will determine whether these early successes in the lab will carry over to humans.

"Time will tell whether the exciting preclinical findings made using VDAs will be applicable in humans as well," writes researcher Dietmar W. Siemann, PhD, of the University of Florida, and colleagues.

Today on WebMD

Colorectal cancer cells
New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
Lung cancer xray
See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
sauteed cherry tomatoes
Fight cancer one plate at a time.
Ovarian cancer illustration
Real Cancer Perspectives
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
what is your cancer risk
colorectal cancer treatment advances
breast cancer overview slideshow
prostate cancer overview
lung cancer overview slideshow
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
Actor Michael Douglas