Combination chemistry

Combining hormones and conventional chemotherapy agents could be key to a new approach to treating cancer, according to British scientists. Ruth Duncan and María Vicent and colleagues realized that polymer carriers, so fashionable as backbones for chemotherapy agents, might be used to carry a hormonal drug to the target site in conjunction with a cytotoxin. The researchers believe their molecular tandem could have a synergistic effect on estrogen-dependent breast cancer. "Our polymer conjugate," says Duncan, "which is the first to combine hormone therapy and chemotherapy, proved to be significantly more cytotoxic against a line of tumor cells than a mixture of the two individual drugs in polymer form."