Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.
"I was rather stunned," Dr. Leonard Saltz, who specializes in colorectal cancer, told me.
Zaltrap costs about $11,000 per month — about twice as much as Avastin, Saltz said.
The largest gene-probing study ever done has fished out dozens of new genetic markers that flag a person's susceptibility to breast, ovarian and prostate cancer.
The 74 newly discovered genetic variants double the previously known number for these malignancies, all of which are driven by sex hormones.
Underscoring the sheer magnitude of the findings, they're contained in 15 scientific papers published simultaneously by five different journals. The Nature group of journals has collected them all here.