So, another molecule of the week! The molecule pictrued above is one of the next generation of more powerful anti-cancer drugs. Traditionally cancer drugs have been cytotoxics that work by disrupting cell division. Newer anti-cancer canditates are more "targeted" with less side effects.
RAD001 a.k.a. everolimus is currently in phase III trials for renal-cell cancer nd carcinoid neuroendocrine tumours and in earlier stage trials for colorectal lung and breast cancers. It is a derivative of the natural products rapamycin, first discovered in bacteria.
When drugs like this do eventually come on the market they are very expensive due the patent protection that the pharmaceutical companies enjoy. The companies can charge almost whatever they want so that the drugs are only available to a select few, claiming that they need to recoup the costs of discovery and development. The health services of many countries can be slow on the uptake due to the cost. Surely it is scandalous that when drugs that are proven effective are available that people just die due to the prohibitive cost so that the pharmaceutical companies can make a fat profit? Perhaps if the drug discovery and development and the associated intellectual property was not in the hands of mega-corporations and instead in the public domain funded by the tax payer (yes that would mean higher taxes) then we could all benefit? Also the choices of which diseases and conditions to develop drugs for would be more motivated by actual need and not what will simply make the most money?