Jan 23, 2005 - 8:04 pm
When a new drug or procedure comes out and the people writing the report or article then badmouth the previous drug or procedure in explaining it. However, when this happens, it is usually possible to get very interesting information on company's products from various company websites. They are competitors of course.
Taxol is given into a vein, but in order for the body to absorb the drug, it must first be dissolved in a solution. Taxol's history began fourty-three years ago. It was found to be virtually insoluble in water. It had the solubility of a brick. The compound wouldn't dissolve very much in any solution. Without a way to get it into a cancer patient, what good was it? It was discovered that something Taxol would dissove in that "might" work in a reasonably "safe" intravenous solution in humans. It was an elixir made of castor oil and marketed as Cremophor EL. It was the "only" answer (until synthetic compounds were introduced like Taxotere). However, this castor-oil carrier is suspected as the culprit behind the misery which includes nausea, vomiting, joint pain, appetite loss, brittle hair and tingling sensations in hands and feet (neuropathy). The much ballyhooed drug was no panacea.
The American Cancer Society, in its recent press release about a new breast cancer drug approved, mentioned that the solution can cause dangerous allergic reactions in many people, so patients "must" first take other drugs like steroids and antihistamines in "hopes" to prevent a bad reaction. The solution can also leach chemicals from regular plastic tubes used to deliver medication, so Taxol must be given through special tubing.
The new drug for breast cancer (Abraxane) is a new form of Taxol (Paclitaxel), which is also a widely used breast cancer drug. Abraxane does not need to be dissolved in the castor oil solution and does not require special equipment to be given to patients. However, more of the women on Abraxane had numbness and tingling in their hands and feet. And more suffered nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and joint pain and anemia.
Now, Bionumerik, in boosting its new drug Tavocept, that is aimed at preventing or reducing common and serious side effects, particularly nerve and kidney damage, associated with taxane (Taxol) and platinum (Carboplatin) drugs, talks about in their literature that chemotherapy-induced toxicities are common and serious clinical problems that adversely impact both the quality of life of cancer patients and the ability of patients to continue treatment for their cancer. Very little has been accomplished to prevent or reduce chemotherapy-induced toxicities such as nerve damage (neurotoxicity), kidney damage (nephrotoxicity) and hearing impairment (ototoxicity). But now they have another new product.