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Machines Like Us

Science may have just beaten prostate cancer

Monday, 25 June 2012

How do you know when your new cancer drug is working better than expected? When they shut down the clinical trial so that every participating patient can receive it.

Johnson & Johnson's Zytiga is kind of a big deal. The FDA approved its use last year for advanced prostate cancer patients who had already received chemo but whose cancer had still metastasized. Prostate cancer is typically treatable for the 200,000 American men who contract it annually, as long as it is caught before it spreads. Once it does, the cancer typically goes to bones where it becomes resistant to normal testosterone-blocking hormonal therapies. Zytiga, however, is a unique cancer-fighting compound that penetrates cancerous cells and shuts down its testosterone production—quickly killing off the damaged cells and preventing their spread. What's more, Zytiga remains effective after the cancer metastasizes and other drugs lose their punch.

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