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Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0812991840
ISBN-10: 0812991842
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer reads like a novel at first. Oncologist Dennis Slamon has spent 13 years "obsessed with a molecule called Her-2," which he believed "held the key to nothing less than curing breast cancer." The book chronicles the search to unlock the secrets of Her-2/neu, a protein that makes cancer cells grow quickly; the discovery of the Her-2/neu antibody, which resulted in tumors shrinking and, sometimes, remission of the cancer; and the development of the drug Herceptin. It is also the story of the women with breast cancer who participated in Herceptin's clinical trials, including Anne McNamara, who has been fighting tumor after tumor since 1978.

The scientific and research-history sections are heavy and slow going, but Robert Bazell effectively juxtaposes the difficult scientific concepts and long research history of Her-2 with human drama. He keeps bringing the reader back to the threads of the personal stories we are following--especially the women with breast cancer and their determination to recapture their health. This is what makes Her-2 so compelling. --Joan Price --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The drama of medical research and breakthrough comes alive in this admirably objective report from the veteran chief science correspondent for NBC News on a promising advance in the treatment of breast cancer. Based on the once-shunned use of antibodies in cancer treatment, the breakthrough has come about, Bazell explains, through the efforts of biotechnologists, medical researchers, clinical doctors and patients who have participated in experimental trials, as well as through the work of aggressive political activists and fund-raisers. Bazell paints a complete picture of the development of the nontoxic "miracle" drug known as Herceptin, which purportedly halts and reverses the "overexpressed Her-2 protein" affecting 30% of breast cancer patients, shrinking and even eliminating spreading tumors. The author follows the divergent viewpoints of various involved parties, including Dennis Slamon, the UCLA researcher who for too long tried in vain to convince top cancer specialists to support his theory and proposed trials; officials at Genentech, the biotechnology company that will produce the drug; and women whose breast cancer was treated in experimental trials. Their stories create a balanced and deeply informative look into the world of medical research, into the cutthroat competition for credit that arises when breakthroughs occur and into the psyches of patients who learn that they must fight for even a slim chance at hope. Editor, Ann Godoff; agent, Suzanne Gluck; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (August 25, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812991842
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812991840
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,257 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Delian N. Naydenov on November 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had to read this book for my Biotechnology class and although I am close to failing it I found Her-2 to be pretty exciting book.
Her-2 by Bazell and King is about breast cancer, however, it reveals many other interesting things about the drug industry and how progress is made in the medical research field. There are different stories and view points and the authors have succesfully managed to combine all this into a book that both teaches and thrills us. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn more about breast cancer and about the insights of creating and bringing to the market a revolutionary drug - from selection of the trial patients to the President's office.
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Format: Hardcover
Bazell uncovers emotions and stories from patients, advocates/lobbyists, scientists and family members. It is a very moving story -- be sure to have tissues nearby as you read through the Phase I trials.
It could be more well-rounded and present ideas from Genentech's viewpoint as well, and it does end faster than it should. If Bazell or anyone tackles an epilogue to Her-2, I would be the first in line to buy it.
Kudos. A must read for ALL WOMEN.
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Format: Hardcover
I cried and rejoiced all through this book, which I finished today. I knew very little about my condition, which is Her2neu +3 positivity, the highest level of Her2, until I read it. My first oncologist wanted to keep me in the dark, and if it weren't for folks like Mr. Bazzell, I would still be in the dark. I now have the ammunition I need to be more active in my treatment options. I also am so thankful to read about the discovery of this oncogene, and cannot express adequately enough my gratitude to one of the main subjects of this book, Dennis Salmon, for his dedication to the discovery of Her2 and all he has done to get the drug, Herceptin on the market. Anyone who overexpresses Her2neu must have this book. This breast cancer is phenomenally deadly, and more able to recur and can spread like wildfire, even during chemotherapy and radiation, so thank goodness now I know, from reading this, what can happen, and what needs to be done.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I had read this book last year. I ordered while my sister was being treated with Herceptin for a recurrence of breast cancer. Unfortunately, she died before I could get the book.
This book give real insight into the politics of cancer treatment - the passiveness of some oncologists, how an executive's own personal experience with a disease can determine if drug development will go forward or not, and how women are becoming more aggressive in monitoring their own treatment.
Bazell talks about the frustrations of critically ill and dying women in trying to work through the medical, academic and managed care maze to get the treatment they need.
This drug has been the 'magic bullet' for many women. It has been called the start of a new era is disease treatment. It is essential for anyone involved in this disease to read this book, to understand what they are up against and how they can help themselves.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the thinking woman's cancer book. If you are a science buff, cancer pioneer or a woman who wants to know what really happens in the world of science and drug revolutions, read this book.
It's well written, bitter-sweet and manages to be simulataneously scientific and humanistic.
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Format: Hardcover
My wife has been recieving weekly doses of Herceptin for a year now. A facinating story of how this miracle drug came to be.Reading about how Herceptin grew from a theory to reality, how the marketplace influenced development and the personalities of the people involved made this a real page turner, I couldn't put it down!
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Format: Paperback
This book gave new light and explored old beliefs about breast cancer. I have never been so impressed by the intellect of such a powerful author as Robert Bazell. Every part of the Her-2 intereasted me and each page left me completely speechless. I would recommend this book everyone willing to explore the idea of an outstandingly facinating book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting to read since I am now using this miracle drug for a recent diagnosis. I was surprised to see it was published so long ago (1998) and I'd love it to be updated. The personal stories of the women who fought for this drug, and those who didn't get to benefit from it, are the most compelling. I am so grateful to benefit from all the pioneering work that's been done. So why does this still cost $10,000.00 for each infusion 16 years later? I'm getting it for a year, maybe $180,000.00, nearly all covered by insurance. An update on the costs of developing, marketing, and distributing the drug would be helpful.
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