Published: 01/06/2013
ISBN: 9781780885117
eISBN: 9781783068340
Format: Paperback/eBook

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Sympathy for the Devil
Curing cancer is hellishly hard work
by Gary Acton

Gary Acton is a London oncologist and his book offers a unique insight into the chaotically unpredictable world of cancer medicine and the biotechnology industry.

Sympathy For The Devil is the account of one company struggling to survive, as all their experimental cancer drugs fail. Now they only have one left. Battling for their existence turns into a race against time, in an adventure taking them from New York to New Delhi. This is a tragicomic true story, frequently bordering on the surreal. It reveals, for the first time, the extraordinary world inhabited by the people involved in cancer drug development. It’s a place where money, medicine and magic all collide. You need the luck of the Devil to survive. A similar set of ethics comes in handy too.

One in three of us will contract cancer and need treatment. This book opens a door on where those drugs come from. A successful new cancer agent costs $100 million and takes ten years to develop. And yet, despite all that time and effort to get it right, only a tiny fraction make it to the clinic. This book examines what’s going wrong and why so many drugs don’t survive that arduous journey. Biotechnology today has become a cancer casino with success or failure determined as much by a throw of the dice as design or decision. Sympathy For The Devil reveals the disturbing implications of this for all of us, now and into the future.

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Review in The Journal for Norwegian Medical Association January 2014

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