Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Pill May Rewrite Medical History

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9780060010300: Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Pill May Rewrite Medical History

The remarkable story behind the revolutionary miracle cure for cancer, Gleevec. Novartis chairman Dr Dan Vasella describes its development and how he and Novartis orchestrated the break–neck approval and massive production of this amazing drug.

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis recently developed Gleevec, one of the first 'smart' drugs created to kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells in the process. In early tests with a common form of leukemia and other types of cancer, Gleevec has been extraordinarily successful, and side effects have been astoundingly minimal. Gleevec communicates directly with cancer–causing chromosomes and interrupts the signal that causes excessive growth of certain white blood cells. Patients have seen their tumours shrink significantly, and some have disappeared altogether.

This is the inside story of the creation of this miracle drug, and how Novartis CEO and chairman Dan Vasella rallied the company to bring Gleevec to market in mass quantities and record time.

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About the Author:

Dr. Daniel Vasella has been the chairman and CEO of Novartis, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, since it was formed in 1996. A native of Switzerland, he was a practicing physician before joining the industry as a pharmaceutical executive. He spent the first years of his business career in the United States before returning to Switzerland to take up his current position.

From Publishers Weekly:

Gleevec is one of the few cancer drugs hailed as a breakthrough that, so far, has largely lived up to its hype. Vasella, the CEO and chairman of pharmaceutical giant Novartis (which manufactures Gleevec), and Slater (Jack Welch & the GE Way) outline the development, remarkably successful clinical trials and accelerated production and approval process that led to the drug's speedy entry onto the market for the treatment of a rare cancer known as chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Although the story's components-devoted scientists, risk-taking executives and activist patients-lend themselves to a gripping insider narrative, the book lacks the details and depth of feeling needed to make that story come alive. Repetition and stilted writing slow the account down further. As a result, the book reads largely as an extended press release for Novartis. Things begin to pick up toward the end, particularly when Vasella defends the high cost of the drug and discusses the challenge of managing patient, media and investor expectations. Gleevec may indeed represent a new direction for cancer research, but the excitement that fact should generate is not captured here.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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