This is an exciting time to be involved in cancer therapeutics. Based upon a greater understanding of the molecular aspects of cancer, new opportunities for therapeutic intervention have emerged that are effectively 'target orientated'. These new therapeutics are quite distinct from the classical chemotherapeutic agents and they offer the prospect of truly selective cancer therapies that are tailored towards the individual patient's tumour. Cancer pharmacology plays a key role in drug development. In both the laboratory and the clinic, cancer pharmacology has had to adapt to the changing face of drug development by establishing experimental models and target orientated approaches.