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12:00 AM
 | 
May 26, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Avastin: Blood flow paradox

Last week's positive Phase III data for Genentech Inc.'s Avastin bevacizumab anti-VEGF antibody could revive the ailing field of anti-angiogenesis therapy in cancer. But it may not work the way most people think. While Avastin truly does act on tumor blood supply, new research suggests it may not be restricting blood flow. Instead, blockage of VEGF actually may increase blood flow to tumors, thereby improving the efficiency of chemotherapy.

Before Avastin's success in patients with colorectal cancer, the concept of anti-angiogenesis in proliferative disorders had fallen out of favor. Several clinical blow-ups suggested that the idea was not working, including the Phase III failures of Semaxanib from Pharmacia Corp. and Sugen Inc. (now both part of Pfizer Inc., PFE, New York, N.Y.) in 2002; of IM862 from Cytran Inc. (Kirkland, Wash.) in 2001; and of ConXn from Connetics Corp. (CNCT, Palo Alto, Calif.) in 2000.

In 2000, PFE also discontinued Phase III development of AG3340 - an anti-angiogenic...

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