Paclitaxel is a used in . It was discovered in a program at the in 1967 when and isolated it from the bark of the tree, and named it 'taxol'. When it was developed commercially by (BMS) the generic name was changed to 'paclitaxel' and the BMS compound is sold under the 'TAXOL'. In this formulation, paclitaxel is dissolved in and , as a delivery agent. A newer formulation, in which paclitaxel is bound to , is sold under the trademark .
Paclitaxel is now used to treat patients with , , , head and neck cancer, and advanced forms of . Paclitaxel is also used for the prevention of .
Paclitaxel stabilizes microtubules and as a result, interferes with the normal breakdown of during cell division. Together with , it forms the drug category of the . It was the subject of a notable by .
As well as offering substantial improvement in patient care, paclitaxel has been a relatively controversial drug. There was originally concern because of the environmental impact of its original sourcing, no longer used, from the Pacific yew. In addition, the assignment of rights, and even the name itself, to Bristol-Myers Squibb were the subject of public debate and Congressional hearings.