Drugs Zero In

Breast cancer, flu and obesity are in the crosshairs as drug companies produce more-targeted treatments

Alexander Ho for TIME

The anti-obesity drug Qnexa.

Traditional drugs can be biological brutes--blundering in to change one process but touching off a series of unwanted side effects in others. So medicines heading to market this year reflect a continuing trend toward more personalized and targeted therapies with fewer complications.

Oncotype Dx

Already approved to help breast-cancer patients decide whether they need chemotherapy, a new version of the 21-gene test will scan biopsies of the earliest malignancies, ductal carcinoma in situ, and determine whether they are likely to spread--and therefore require radiation follow-up--or are less aggressive, in which case surgery alone might suffice.


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