Medicine: A Fateful Test

Can interferon fight cancer?

It was a bold proposal. Dr. Jordan Gutterman of Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute had applied to the American Cancer Society for a grant of more than a million dollars to buy interferon, a scarce and expensive substance that has shown promise in cancer research. To buttress his request, Gutterman reported that of ten advanced breast cancer patients he had treated with interferon, four had shown shrinkage of their widespread tumors. Those results, following encouraging news about interferon in animal and human tests by other researchers, seemed too compelling...

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