Cancer Cocktail Crusader Comes to MGH

A  bit overstated but here is the NY Times story about Dr. Keith Flaherty of University of Pennsylvania. He’s trying to do good medicine and targeted therapy within the corporate culture of drug studies. The story reports that, starting next month, Flaherty will oversee targeted therapy development across all cancer types at Massachusetts General Hospital.

He had some luck with a drug for melanoma called PLX4032. Then the cancer came back.

The problem, which had bedeviled targeted therapies for other cancers, was that while PLX4032 blocked the protein made by one mutated gene, a second mutation now seemed to be driving the cancer’s growth. If that mutation could be identified, they believed, its protein could also be blocked, in a game of biological Whac-a-Mole that just might be possible to win….

For his part, the doctor would try to keep his patients alive. And he would work to convince the pharmaceutical industry that the fastest path to finding a combination that really worked would require changing their standard operating procedure.

One of three stories from Amy Harmon in The Target Cancer series. Which ”chronicles the first human trial of an experimental cancer drug, exploring the challenges that face the doctors and


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