Taxol is the trademark for paclitaxel, a drug used to treat an assortment of tumorous cancers. Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) currently controls the rights to paclitaxel. This drug can be extremely effective for some cancer patients, although it is also very costly, and not covered by all insurance programs. In some regions, patients may be asked to pay for their own Taxol, contributing significantly to the cost of cancer treatment.
Paclitaxel works by interrupting with the process of cell division, making it difficult for tumors to continue growing. When taken in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments, Taxol can help to shrink cancers and eventually eradicate them from the body. It is also sometimes prescribed as a long-term treatment for cancer survivors, to inhibit the recurrence of cancer in the critical years following cancer treatment. The drug is used to treat lung, ovarian, breast, head/neck, bladder, prostate, and esophageal cancers, along with Kaposi's Sarcoma.