Clifton Leaf, a cancer survivor and the author of “The Truth in Small Doses: Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer – and How to Win It”, writes in The New York Times about the challenges that exist in human drug trials and the impact of biological diversity on outcomes.
Researchers are coming to understand just how individualized human physiology and human pathology really are. On a genetic level, the tumors in one person with pancreatic cancer almost surely won’t be identical to those of any other. Even in a more widespread condition like high cholesterol, the variability between individuals can be great, meaning that any two patients may have starkly different reactions to a drug.
Leaf’s recent book is also featured in a review by Alexander Nazaryan in The New Yorker.