Medicine: The Petri Dish And the Patient

Predicting which drugs will work on cancer patients

Doctors play a guessing game about which drugs to use in combatting cancer. One problem is human individuality—what helps one person may fail to help another. In the search for the proper medicine, doctors must often subject a patient to a sequence of powerful drugs, many of which turn out to be ineffective against the malignant cells. Now a simple technique promises a means of testing the effectiveness of drugs in a specific case of cancer—without having to administer them to the patient.

A team of researchers at the University of Arizona Cancer Center...

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