Behind the Headlines of Endostatin's Ups and Downs

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Science  26 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5406, pp. 1250-1251
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5406.1250

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Researchers have been trying for a year to replicate remarkable experiments in mice, in which a compound called endostatin hampered the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors, making cancer disappear. The experiments and the attempts to repeat them have sparked reports of a "miracle cure" one day and a "failure" the next. Behind this confusing array of stories lies a scientific saga that emphasizes how small differences in techniques, reagents, and assays can foil attempts by one lab to repeat the work of another. It shows that replication, a cornerstone of the scientific process, means different things to different people. And it also helps clarify why the media-driven frenzy about endostatin has been so confusing and frustrating to the public and scientists alike.