Science: Short Cut?

When the discovery of cortisone was announced last spring by four Mayo Clinic researchers (TIME, May 2), sufferers from arthritis* got a guarded flicker of hope for the future; cortisone almost always eases the symptoms of their crippling affliction. But the new drug is only a palliative, not a cure, and must be used continuously or the symptoms return. It is also pitifully scarce.

Cortisone is made, in 37 chemical steps over a six-month period, from the bile of slaughtered oxen (40 head are required for a single daily dose). Merck & Co., who make it, produce only about 1½ ounces a...

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