Of Mice And Men: Don't Blame The Rodents

When Dr. Judah Folkman is asked whether he can cure cancer, he invariably replies, "Yes, in mice." That's not entirely self-effacing whimsy. Like every good researcher--and every responsible science journalist--he knows all too well that most drugs that work in lab animals turn out to be duds in humans. The field is littered with "magic bullets" that failed, among them monoclonal antibodies, tumor necrosis factor, interferon and interleukin-2. While all were initially hyped as potential cure-alls, they have turned out to have only modest usefulness in the war on cancer. At best, says Dr. Allen Oliff, Merck & Co.'s chief of...

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