Bruce Chabner, M.D., Former Director, DCTD

Fludarabine took a more tortured approach. It was discovered by John Montgomery, synthesized by John Montgomery, as an analog, a purine analog. It turned out to have very potent immune suppressive properties, which is a problem. It also had some very serious toxicity in its initial clinical trials. And it turned out the animals were not a very good predictor of its toxicity in man.

So finally, backing down on the dose and learning how to use it, it proved to be active in lymphomas. And it was licensed then by Burlex for development. And it has rather modest sales. But it turns out to be very important in more indolent lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.