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Cancer Warrior

Program Overview


Treating cancer with traditional chemotherapy usually involves strong poisons that kill normal cells as well as cancer cells, often causing debilitating side effects. In this NOVA, meet one researcher who has developed a drug that, if successful, could profoundly change the way cancer is treated.

The program:

  • presents two cancer patients who participated in the first Phase I clinical trials for the new drug, Endostatin.

  • describes the initial experiment in which Dr. Judah Folkman accidentally observed an important connection between tumor growth and blood vessels.

  • explores Dr. Folkman's early theory that a tumor actually secretes some "factor" that stimulates new blood vessel growth. Those blood vessels bring nutrition to the tumor, remove waste products, and enable the tumor to grow.

  • chronicles the resistance Dr. Folkman encountered from the scientific community.

  • shows the difficult process of finding single protein molecules that stimulate angiogenesis—thereby proving Dr. Folkman's original theory.

  • examines the decades-long process of searching for anti-angiogenesis agents that block new blood vessel growth—including Thalidomide, Angiostatin, Endostatin, and others.

  • offers hope that Endostatin may help manage cancer in the future.

Teacher's Guide
Cancer Warrior
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