Treating cancer is good. Preventing it is better. While many cancers appear without warning, a number are characterized by precancerous conditions. In fact, all epithelial tissues exhibit some form of precancerous disease that ultimately leads to solid tumors. Cell Pathways Inc. is targeting these premalignant diseases, which include adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), cervical dysplasia and prostatic dysplasia.

The Aurora, Colo., company's lead product, FGN-1, is an orally active compound that augments the rate of apoptosis in abnormally proliferating groups of cells, restoring a more normal pattern of cell growth and death.

"It's the imbalance between proliferation and apoptosis which leads to a lesion in the first place," said President Christopher Blaxland. "It doesn't require a major effect to increase the cell death rate to 15 percent higher than the birth rate."


FGN-1 is the sulfone metabolite of sulindac, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. In the 1980s, anecdotal evidence emerged that sulindac and certain other NSAIDs appeared to