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A Review of the Department of Defense's Program for Breast Cancer Research
A 1995 survey by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America found that approximately 215 new medications are currently undergoing phase I and phase II cancer therapy trials sponsored by approximately 98 research-based pharmaceutical companies and the NCI (PhRMA, 1995). (These are very small trials, usually involving fewer than 100 people, that test the toxicity and preliminary efficacy of a trial drug or biological. Phase III trials are usually large trials [involving several hundred to several thousand people] and run for several years. Phase II trials are used to determine if a new drug entity is both safe and effective for a large population.) These novel cancer therapies include approximately 48 drugs specifically targeted for breast cancer. All but 2 of these drugs are being developed by private companies (NCI is sponsoring the other two). Nearly 70% of these 48 drugs are also being evaluated as therapeutic agents for other cancers. Several of these studies utilize monoclonal antibodies or tumor vaccines.