News of the WeekMedicine

Why a New Cancer Drug Works Well, In Some Patients

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Science  30 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5671, pp. 658-659
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5671.658a

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A new drug called gefitinib (Iressa) has given cancer patients a glimmer of hope, while presenting a puzzle: Iressa causes significant tumor shrinkage in only about 10% of the patients who take it, but when it does work, clinicians say, it works amazingly well. Results published online by Science on 29 April provide an explanation for why Iressa is so much more effective in some patients than others.