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

By Daniel Vasella (Author) & Robert Slater (Author)
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Item description for Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Pill May Rewrite Medical History by Daniel Vasella & Robert Slater...

When the first results from patient trials appeared on Dr. Daniel Vasella's desk in April 1999, the chairman and CEO of Novartis sensed that an important chapter of medical history was about to be rewritten. The results indicated that Gleevec, the tiny orange capsule -- the development of which he had spearheaded -- was working wonders to arrest a life-threatening form of blood cancer. Here, for the first time, Dr. Vasella recounts the step-by-step challenges of bringing this revolutionary medicine to market and producing it in large enough quantities to make a difference in the lives of patients and their families everywhere in the world.

The leaders of major pharmaceutical companies rarely speak out so candidly and comprehensively about their businesses, but in this unique, groundbreaking book Dr. Vasella takes us behind the scenes and reveals the enormous pressures, the heavy costs, and the high risks involved in betting heavily on a drug like Gleevec -- regardedby many as the most exciting cancer breakthroughdiscovery yet -- while staying focused on the ultimate goal of saving lives.

In this clear and exciting account, Dr. Vasella explains why Gleevec is nothing less than a scientific breakthrough, one that medical experts believe already is revolutionizing cancer therapy. For decades the standard way to combat cancer has been to remove it surgically and/or to use toxic drugs or radiation to destroy cancer cells. But these techniques also attack normal tissues and frequently leave patients overwhelmingly weak. Side effects can be so severe that patients even die from therapy. In contrast, Gleevec is the first "designer drug" for cancer therapy, specifically targeting a cancer-producing molecule and "fixing" the malfunction, leaving healthy cells intact. It is hoped that Gleevec will be a paradigm for other molecularly targeted drugs that will work on cancers with larger patient populations, and the implications of this are enormous.

Magic Cancer Bullet is the first authoritative account of how Gleevec was developed and produced; of how on May 10, 2001 it won the swiftest passage from the Food and Drug Administration ever for a cancer drug; of how, even now, it is changing the lives and outlooks of patients everywhere, bringing hope in bleak and dire circumstances. From his unique vantage point as the man who guided this lifesaving "magic cancer bullet" from the laboratory to the pharmacy, Dr. Daniel Vasella gives us an insider's account of the scientists, the Novartis executives, and the Gleevec patients on this remarkable journey and he shows why the story of Gleevec is an intriguing part of the search for a cure to the scourge of cancer, one of the greatest human afflictions of our time.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: HarperBusiness
Pages   288
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.4" Height: 0.93"
Weight:   1.11 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 31, 2003
Publisher   Collins
ISBN  0060010304  
ISBN13  9780060010300  
UPC  099455024952  

Availability  0 units.

More About Daniel Vasella & Robert Slater

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Biographies & Primers > Company Profiles
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing > General
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
5Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body
6Books > Subjects > Medicine > General
7Books > Subjects > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Oncology > General
8Books > Subjects > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Oncology
9Books > Subjects > Medicine > Pharmacology > General
10Books > Subjects > Medicine > Pharmacology
11Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Medicine > Internal Medicine > Oncology
12Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Medicine > Reference > Drug Guides
13Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Pharmacology > Pharmacology
14Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Medical > Pharmacology > Pharmacy

Reviews - What do customers think about Magic Cancer Bullet: How a Tiny Orange Pill May Rewrite Medical History?

Biased Book  May 16, 2007
While this was a very interesting "inside view" of the pharmaceutical industry, the author (or ghost writer?) tries too hard to sound humanitarian, and ends up sounding rather fake (or as if he were going for a medical school interview). A lot of the book ends up being a justification of the marketing and sales of the drug, and ends up sounding heavy-handed. Also, the reader must be aware that this book does not tell the entire story of Gleevec - just search for it on the NY Times, and the patients will tell you the darker side of the tale. In the end, this book is just another marketing scheme for this niche drug, and should be treated as such.
Need Some Balance Here  Aug 11, 2006
The Magic Cancer Bullet is somewhat of a whitewash and has very little balance. If this is how the drug is being marketed to physicians, it is no wonder that I have experienced what I have.

Specifically, there ARE indeed toxicities and side effects with this drug - and I should know because I have CML and have been treated with Gleevec. The horrid thing is that there are patients like me who are not monitored properly at all.

My first hematologist was so blase about this leukemia that he told my answering machine that, yes, I definitely do have CML. Did he test for elevated liver enzymes every few months as recommended? No, of course not. Did he or any of his staff call me back when I called to ask why I was turning yellow? No. What DID he do? Prescribe Gleevec - and he also told me that I could take "all the Tylenol I needed" so long as I "don't overdo it." What does that mean? He was so bored he didn't even want much of a medical history. ALL he was interested in was the Philadelphia chromosome, nothing else at all. No advice for side effects, etc. It goes on and on, but I then went elsewhere.

Hematologist number Two is at least polite, but, when she upped the dose to 600 mg., I started to experience many more symptoms such as episodes of palpitations followed by dizziness and a feeling of faintness. She never even listened to my heart! (She doesn't even touch me at all during my visits!) All she did was lower the dose ONLY BECAUSE the Gleevec wasn't doing any more regarding the Philadelphia chromosome!

If you really want the truth about this drug, read the insert - and it's a long one. I am not saying that Gleevec is not a valuable drug - it is. BUT - some physicians are NOT MONITORING their patients properly. After all, isn't this supposed to be science? Can they always tell who may develop a problem? (Maybe they have a crystal ball?! Or do they really believe that they have the magic touch??)

Better monitoring, please. And temper your enthusiasm with some caution!

Rent it. Nice reading  Apr 29, 2004
The issue is about cancer patients, their pain and a miracle drug.

The book sails through story of development of "Gleevec" pill. This medicine cured people with specific kind of cancer and saved lives.

It shows that a great deal of effort required over a sustained period of time from individual contributors that brought such a revolutionary medicine.

The Inside Story  Jun 27, 2003
This is an excellent account of the way things really happen. The media sometimes beats the political drum so loudly about the pharmaceutical industry being an evil empire that the other side of the story is never heard. Here is an inside look from the perspective of dedicated scientists, committed business executives, and the people they serve. If you want to base your opinions on all aspects of the issue, this is required reading.
This book will offer you an inside view....  Jun 15, 2003
As an employee within the pharmaceutical industry, this book will offer the reader an inside view of how a product goes from the research phase to finally, the consumer. As a father to a child with cancer, this book offers hope that someday a cure will be developed to eliminate cancer. A must read!

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