This is the first of two talks about
the non-steroidal antioestrogen tamoxifen and how it was developed,
and ultimately became the gold standard for
the treatment of breast cancer and the first chemopreventive.
The second lecture, will take us into
the development of the selective oestrogen receptor modulators,
agents that have been used for multiple diseases in women.
The discovery of the non-steroidal antioestrogens was really serendipity,
it was by accident.
These compounds were part of cardiovascular programs in the pharmaceutical industry,
but they failed in that application;
But it was found by a young scientist that these compounds had
antioestrogenic effects in target sites all over an animal's body;
But the important point was,
these were morning-after pills in animals.
If animals became pregnant, the next day,
administration of non-steroidal antioestrogens stopped the animals from becoming pregnant.
Ultimately, with the development of these compounds became their reinvention,
patenting and promotion of progress into therapeutics and chemoprevention.
So, how did this all begin?
Well, during the 1950s and the 1960s,
there was the discovery of a host of different non-steroidal antioestrogens.
They basically were anti-fertility agents, so they were tested
with their ability to be anti-fertility agents in women.
Now this was the 1960s,
this was an era of make love, not war,
and clinical trials were started with everybody getting very
excited about the possibility of these new occasional contraceptives.
One could go away for the weekend, Monday morning,
pop a few pills in, and everything would be just fine.
But unfortunately, exactly the opposite happened.
These compounds were inducers of ovulation, they stimulated ovulation.
So, these particular agents now went forward in a completely different direction.