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Platinum Metals Rev., 1979, 23, (3), 98

A Symposium on Cancer Therapy

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Following the governmental approval of cisplatin for the treatment of certain types of cancer a symposium for the medical profession was organised in London by the manufacturers, the Mead Johnson division of the Bristol-Myers Company. The chair was taken by Dr. Eye Wiltshaw, Royal Marsden Hospital, London, who introduced Dr. M. J. Cleare of the Johnson Matthey Research Centre, the author of the opening paper on the development of platinum anti-cancer agents.

After describing the initial experiments which led to the identification of anti-cancer activity in platinum compounds, Dr. Cleare detailed the techniques of quality control exercised in the preparation of the first platinum drug, cisplatin. These included the examination of the infra-red and ultra-violet spectra and the use of thin layer chromatography and of high performance liquid chromatography. These methods of quality control of the first metal co-ordination compound to find application in therapy were essentially the same as those employed with organic preparations.

Having emphasised the pronounced and prolonged effect of cisplatin on DNA synthesis, Dr. Cleare described the screening of several hundred platinum compounds for potential usefulness. Research on these compounds was directed towards finding those giving less toxicity and with a wider spectrum of anti-tumour properties. It was indicated that success, particularly with regard to toxicity, seemed quite probable.

There followed several papers reporting on the degree of success so far established with cisplatin. Dr. R. B. Golbey of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, dealt with cisplatin in the management of testicular cancer and Mr. G. H. Barker, Registrar at the Royal Marsden Hospital, with the treatment of ovarian cancer. Further reports were presented by Dr. R. T. D. Oliver of the Institute of Urology, London, and by Dr. R. E. Wittes, also from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

A lengthy general discussion on the practical aspects of patient management during cis-platinum therapy indicated a high degree of interest among the medical profession.

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