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Experimental Cancer Therapies Move to the Front Line

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Science  20 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6066, pp. 282-283
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6066.282

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A rush of new treatments that attack molecular vulnerabilities in tumors and may be less toxic than traditional chemotherapies has prompted some oncologists, pharmaceutical companies, and drug regulators to reconsider how cancer drugs are tested. While new drugs are often tried in patients whose disease is curable, this tends to happen later in development, frequently after the treatment has been under study for 10 years or been approved based on data in those with terminal cancer. Meanwhile, some doctors are wearying of therapies whose ability to extend life is measured in weeks. So they’re beginning to use experimental drugs earlier in disease.