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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Biology-driven cancer drug development: back to the future

Christopher J Lord and Alan Ashworth

Author Affiliations

The Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre, The Institute of Cancer Research, Fulham Road, London, SW3 6JB, UK

BMC Biology 2010, 8:38  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-38

Published: 12 April 2010

Abstract

Most of the significant recent advances in cancer treatment have been based on the great strides that have been made in our understanding of the underlying biology of the disease. Nevertheless, the exploitation of biological insight in the oncology clinic has been haphazard and we believe that this needs to be enhanced and optimized if patients are to receive maximum benefit. Here, we discuss how research has driven cancer drug development in the past and describe how recent advances in biology, technology, our conceptual understanding of cell networks and removal of some roadblocks may facilitate therapeutic advances in the (hopefully) near future.