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Epothilones: A Novel Class of Non-taxane Microtubule-stabilizing Agents

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The epothilones are a novel class of non-taxane microtubule-stabilizing agents obtained from the fermentation of the cellulose degrading myxobacteria, Sorangium cellulosum. Preclinical studies have shown that the epothilones are more potent than the taxanes and active in some taxane-resistant models. Similar to paclitaxel and other taxanes, the epothilones block cells in mitosis, resulting in cell death. The chief components of the fermentation process are epothilones A and B, with epothilones C and D found in smaller amounts. Trace amounts of other epothilones have also been detected. Pre-clinical studies have shown that epothilone B is the most active form, exhibiting significantly higher antitumor activity than paclitaxel and docetaxel. Several phase I and phase II clinical trials are ongoing with epothilone B and BMS 247550, an epothilone B analog. Preliminary reports indicate these agents are active against human cancers in heavily pretreated patients. The epothilones appear to be well tolerated, with a side effect profile that is similar to that reported with the taxanes. This article will review some basic aspects of epothilone chemistry and biology, and pre-clinical and preliminary clinical experience with epothilone B and its analog, BMS 247550.
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Keywords: clinical experience; epothilones; hypersensitivity reactions; microtubule-stabilizing agents; sorangium cellulosum

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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