HER-2 by Robert Bazell


The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer
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Bazell, the chief science correspondent for NBC News, offers a clear, detailed, and often gripping account of the long struggle to develop a new kind of treatment for one of the most common and lethal forms of cancer. The drug in question is Herceptin, a nontoxic and seemingly efficient way of containing the “most extraordinarily aggressive and intractable” form of breast cancer, which constitutes some 25 to 30 percent of new cases. At the heart of the narrative is Dr. Dennis Slamon, a UCLA oncologist who has spent much of the past three decades trying to find a way to attack HER-2/neu, the protein that under certain circumstances turns breast cells malignant. Herceptin renders the protein inactive, in a way that more traditional (and often disabling) treatments of the disease do not. Bazell is equally good at describing both the science behind the drug’s development and the big business of launching new drugs. A heartening detective story, and a generally fascinating portrait of the inner workings of medical research and the close but uncomfortable relationship of government, business, and medicine. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 1998
ISBN: 0-679-45702-X
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998