Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer

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9780679457022: Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer

Two years after she underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy, Barbara Bradfield's aggressive breast cancer had recurred and spread to her lungs. The outlook was grim. Then she took part in Genentech's clinical trials for a new drug. Five years later she remains cancer-free.

        Her-2 is the biography of Herceptin, the drug that provoked dramatic responses in Barbara Bradfield and other women in the trials and that offers promise for hundreds of thousands of breast cancer patients. Unlike chemotherapy or radiation, Herceptin has no disabling side effects. It works by inactivating Her-2/neu--a protein that makes cancer cells grow especially quickly-- produced by a gene found in 25 to 30 percent of all breast tumors. Herceptin caused some patients' cancers to disappear completely; in others, it slowed the progression of the disease and gave the women months or years they wouldn't otherwise have had. Herceptin is the first treatment targeted at a gene defect that gives rise to cancer. It marks the beginning of a new era of treatment for all kinds of cancers.

        Robert Bazell presents a riveting account of how Herceptin was born. Her-2 is a story of dramatic discoveries and strong personalities, showing the combination of scientific investigation, money, politics, ego, corporate decisions, patient activism, and luck involved in moving this groundbreaking drug from the lab to a patient's bedside. Bazell's deft portraits introduce us to the remarkable people instrumental in Herceptin's history, including Dr. Dennis Slamon, the driven UCLA oncologist who played the primary role in developing the treatment; Lily Tartikoff, wife of television executive Brandon Tartikoff, who tapped into Hollywood money and glamour to help fund Slamon's research; and Marti Nelson, who inspired the activists who lobbied for a "compassionate use" program that would allow women outside the clinical trials to have access to the limited supplies of Herceptin prior to FDA approval of the drug. And throughout there are the stories of the heroic women with advanced breast cancer who volunteered for the trials, risking what time they had left on an unproven treatment. Meticulously researched, written with clarity and compassion, Her-2 is masterly reporting on cutting-edge science.

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Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer reads like a novel at first. Oncologist Dennis Slamon has spent 13 years "obsessed with a molecule called Her-2," which he believed "held the key to nothing less than curing breast cancer." The book chronicles the search to unlock the secrets of Her-2/neu, a protein that makes cancer cells grow quickly; the discovery of the Her-2/neu antibody, which resulted in tumors shrinking and, sometimes, remission of the cancer; and the development of the drug Herceptin. It is also the story of the women with breast cancer who participated in Herceptin's clinical trials, including Anne McNamara, who has been fighting tumor after tumor since 1978.

The scientific and research-history sections are heavy and slow going, but Robert Bazell effectively juxtaposes the difficult scientific concepts and long research history of Her-2 with human drama. He keeps bringing the reader back to the threads of the personal stories we are following--especially the women with breast cancer and their determination to recapture their health. This is what makes Her-2 so compelling. --Joan Price

From the Back Cover:

"A fascinating description of the people and politics behind the development of a new breast cancer treatment. With Her-2 we are finally seeing the fulfillment of research's promise to move us behind slash, burn, and poison toward a more targeted approach to this devastating disease."--Susan Love, M.D., author of Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book

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Bazell, Robert
Verlag: Random House (1998)
ISBN 10: 067945702X ISBN 13: 9780679457022
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Robinson Street Books, IOBA
(Binghamton, NY, USA)
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Buchbeschreibung Random House, 1998. Hardcover. Buchzustand: Very Good. 067945702X Very good. Clean text. Email for further information. Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Artikel-Nr. BINGX84311664

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