Squibb Takes Dead Aim At Cancer

Scientists long have dreamed of designing potent anticancer drugs that could home in on tumors without harming healthy cells. The future looked bright in 1975, when researchers found a Nobel prizewinning way to make large quantities of so-called monoclonal antibodies, specialized versions of the body's own intruder-fighting substances. In theory, combining a toxic "warhead" with an antibody "guidance system" would create a weapon that could deal a death blow to cancer cells. But for years such "smart bombs" mostly have turned out to be duds.

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