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Book Sympathy for the Devil: The Definitive True Story of Cancer Biotechnology and Its Battle Against Disease, Death and Destruction

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Sympathy for the Devil: The Definitive True Story of Cancer Biotechnology and Its Battle Against Disease, Death and Destruction

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Sympathy for the Devil: The Definitive True Story of Cancer Biotechnology and Its Battle Against Disease, Death and Destruction.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Gary Acton(Author)

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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.
3.5 (8545)
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Book details

  • PDF | 600 pages
  • Gary Acton(Author)
  • Matador; UK ed. edition (1 Jun. 2013)
  • English
  • 2
  • Health, Family & Lifestyle

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Review Text

  • By Jekyll on 13 August 2013

    This book must be almost unique. It is the inside story of the rise and fall of a pharmaceutical biotech company written with the clarity and insight that only personal involvement can bring. This is not an external dry history - this is autobiography. You can feel the bruises.This is an honest book. Occasionally it is scathing in its criticism of the (dys)regulatory process that seems to want to keep active drugs away from patients, thereby protecting them from nasty side effects. Where Acton is critical, it is entirely appropriate - see the chapter on Genentech and the Avastin saga. The language is remarkable in its transparency and coherence, even in its use of the (very) occasional expletive and it is utterly believable in its portrayal of personal involvement.As a practising haematologist, I have experience of the rigours of clinical trials from the clinician's viewpoint and I have had personal involvement with some of the drugs discussed by Gary that have fallen by the wayside. This book has shown me so much more of the other side of trials - the Company or Sponsor - much of which was dark territory to me before. Acton has directly influenced the way I view that Sponsor-Investigator relationship. This is potentially a game changing book.To be fair, it is a chunky tome and the subject could threaten to become dry. Do not be deceived. Gary's acerbic style, which he brings directly from his personal image and presentation skills, will grab your attention and have you turning pages faster than the latest pulp fiction. It was never a task to read this. I enjoyed it.I would commend the book to anyone who has more than the flimsiest of passing interest in cancer research and biotechnology. You will find it both interesting and instructive.You should buy it. You will not be disappointed.

  • By ChromatoReviewer on 12 August 2013

    Sympathy for the Devil is a candid view into the often-chaotic world of drug development and is a must read, especially for anyone interested, or working, in drug development and/or cancer therapies.The book is well structured even although it has several different strands. By hanging the technical issues on the story of a biotech company's fight to stay alive it feels much more like a novel than a textbook and it splits the whole story up into manageable chunks. Acton covers issues such as patent times and recuperating development costs, the ever increasing burden of regulatory and quality structures, the risk/benefit of chemotherapy drug and complexities of the stark choices facing both clinicians and patients, the power of the regulators over everything, the challenge and rewards of personalised medicine and the requirement for a 'balance of probabilities' approach to regulatory approval. The historical aspect of the book highlights both the painfully slow, incremental, progress of most cancer drug development - akin to trench warfare - and the occasional 'rapid advance' made in some special cases (for example Glivec); how the major advances in chemotherapy were made 50 years after the early pioneers had started their investigations but how serendipitous those discoveries sometimes were.This book has the technical detail without the jargon. It's probably best suited to readers with a reasonable knowledge of science, but if you can make sense of New Scientist Sympathy will be a sinch. It's weighty enough to be useful, but light enough to be easy.There are a few niggles, but in summary I thought this was great overview of cancer, cancer therapies and the risks and pitfalls of modern biotechnology. As a small cog in a large drug development machine I never see patients, only capsules or vials, and so the descriptions of the difficult choices faced by patients and clinicians were particularly striking. The historical and technical aspects of the book have been useful at a professional level, but at the same time it's written in a style that make it a good 'holiday read'. Furthermore, Acton exposes the problems for patients, business and science with the current methods of funding and regulating the development new medicines.A more detailed review is on my Uni blog at [...]

  • By Mr T J Newton on 3 August 2014

    After receiving this book as a personal gift from the Author, i initially thought it would be placed to one side on my now full study desk. After recently embarking on a Psychology degree, i thought maybe i shall read it some day, as if I'm not doing enough already. However, i pick it up expecting only to look at the preface, which in turn leads to the prologue, and away we go, now unable to put this wonderful personal insight into the authors world back in it's wrongly anticipated space on my desk. I must confess to not being a fully fledged academic quite yet, equally no expert on writing book reviews. However, this book further influences change in my thought patterns, whilst providing a welcome resource to my ever growing knowledge of what makes this big machine of ours tick.We are fully aware of the emotional need to 'belong' that is typical of human nature. However, to 'belong' to the world of the author opens your eyes to something resembling an underworld, where unfortunately your chances of survival are less than that of belonging to the Mafia.You are with the author at Antisoma Research Ltd when reading this book. Your are looking out the window when he does, you pick up the telephone when he does, all too often you shall feel the disappointment when he does.You will read this book, anytime, any place, anywhere, guaranteed to go further than initially intended. Why ? Because you know the research exists. However, now you know 'how' it exists !!! or should i say 'survives' ?


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