About this book
Since the 1940s, the treatment of advanced cancer has been based on administering maximal doses of non-specifically toxic drugs in the hope that cancer cells would be killed more effectively than normal cells. While this is occasionally successful, for most common cancers only a minority of patients experience any meaningful benefit. Unfortunately, nearly all treated patients experience toxicities, which range from unpleasant to life threatening. In recent years, however, our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of cancer has increased enormously. We now have a much deeper understanding of how intracellular signaling pathways that control critical cellular functions can become subverted by the genetic alterations arising in a cancer cell. In fact, we are now in a position to use this knowledge to design rational targeted therapeutic approaches that hold the promise of much greater efficacy with fewer side effects. In this volume, oncologists and scientists from academia, government, and industry have come together to provide insight into strategies to modulate signaling pathways, which are currently being translated from the laboratory to the clinic. These advances will hopefully usher in a new era in the treatment of cancer patients, and thus the goal of this volume is both to inform those interested in this field, and to inspire further contributions in this cutting edge area.