I always find it interesting when a drug meant for one thing - say cancer - ends up helping a whole other disease - say, a rare neurological disorder.  This is precisely what happened to Edith Garrett, featured in this Boston Globe article.  19-year-old Garrett suffers from a disorder called neurofibromatosis, a rare genetic condition that causes benign tumors to grow in the brain.  The tumors cause everything from facial paralysis to lost hearing - both of which Garrett suffers from.  Recently Garrett started on Avastin, a class of cancer drug called an angiogenesis inhibitor - meaning it blocks blood vessel growth to the tumor, effectively starving it.  The drug is showing a lot of success in the patients using it - six of seven people taking it have regained their hearing - Garrett is one of them.

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Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation

Angiogenesis in cancer was first discovered by famed cancer researcher Judah Folkman - who recently passed away.  NOVA scienceNOW paid tribute to the great  man and describes where his work on angiogenesis has taken us.  Check out the segment here.   And for the complete story of Folkman's rise to fame, check out our hour-long special, Cancer Warrior.

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