Breaking the Mold of Oncology Drug Development

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"Looking at all oncology products on the market, it is striking to note how each targets a single factor in the complex processes that control tumor growth and invasion. It is almost like attempting to stop traffic in a city by blocking a single avenue: It only slows down traffic but doesn't stop it completely."

Seeking Alpha, Brian Nichols

Advancements in research have reached a 30-year pinnacle. Cancer treatment has been, at best, a very slow process, with new technology that is slowly being welcomed by the FDA. One company in particular, ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, is working diligently to break the mold of oncology drug development. As a result, I am looking at how the company is progressing the field, along with the past and present trends in oncology.

Looking at all oncology products on the market and how each work, it is striking to note how each targets a single factor in the complex processes that control tumor growth and invasion. Cancer continues to evolve, yet there is a lack of any viable drugs on the market to effectively combat the disease. It is almost like one is attempting to stop traffic in a city by blocking a single avenue: It only slows down traffic but doesn't stop it completely. The clinical outcomes of the last 30 years of oncology research are very similar -- we know how to slow down progression of the disease but can't stop it from spreading and eventually killing the patient.

There are two main culprits as to why we have taken this path of attacking single antigens over the last few decades. The first is that a large number of these drugs were initially developed in academia, which is notorious for emphasizing publication of fundamental understanding of pathways, rather than trying to find a combination of drugs for a cure. The main reason being combination drugs may be harder to study and, more importantly, even harder to publish. The other problem is the regulatory one, whereby the FDA has emphasized studying the effect of each drug entity and doesn't have a clear regulatory pathway for combining 2-3 or more experimental drugs together. . .View Full Article

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