Jumping the Gun:
U.S. cancer researcher Folkman to be subject of new book

Reuters News Service
May 7, 1998

A book deal has been signed to tell the story about the life and work of Dr. Judah Folkman, discoverer of experimental cancer-fighting drugs that sparked huge interest this week, publisher Random House Inc. said Thursday.

It said the deal was with Newsday newspaper science reporter Bob Cooke, who has exclusive access to Folkman, a cancer researcher of Harvard University and Children's Hospital in Boston. Cooke has been reporting on Folkman's research since the early 1970s. "The book is about Dr. Judah Folkman and his research from the beginning through the clinical trials that are about to take place," said Carol Schneider, vice president of publicity at Random House in New York.

She declined to discuss the value of the deal, but the New York Post reported Thursday that the author would be paid $1 million for the book, to be called "Conquering Cancer."

Cooke was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Since The New York Times reported Sunday that two experimental drugs -- angiostatin and endostatin -- had starved cancers in mice by cutting the blood supply to the tumors, Folkman and other scientists have tried to dampen a frenzy of inquiries.

Folkman has stressed that the drugs had only worked in mice. "It's got a ways to go in people, but there is hope to get there," he said.

The report boosted shares in Entremed, the Rockville, Maryland-based company backing the drugs. Calls have poured in to the company, to Folkman and to the National Cancer Institute.

Random House, the largest U.S. book publisher, said it was not clear when the book would be out.

"It will be published after some conclusions have come through regarding the clinical trials with humans," Schneider said. We're not rushing this book out, we want to have the complete story."

According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, it takes on average 15 years to bring an experimental drug out of the lab and to human patients.

Only one in 1,000 compounds tested makes it into clinical safety trials in humans, and only one in 20 of these are eventually approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

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