Swiss Army Medicine

The new way to fight deadly tumors is to gum up their many growth engines, in several ways, all at once. Early last year 61-year-old Judy Norris was ready to stop all treatment and let her cancer run its course. Her kidney tumor, diagnosed in 1997, had spread to her abdomen, pancreas and both lungs. Six months of treatment with toxic interleukin-2, one of the only treatments for advanced kidney cancer, had eroded nerves in her hands and feet, caused frequent vomiting and made her skin peel all over--but did nothing to slow the tumors' relentless growth. In June, in a last-ditch effort to save her life, her oncologist recommended an experimental pill from Pfizer called SU11248. The Fallbrook, Calif. nurse hesitated, fearing that the side effects would be worse than the disease. "I thought maybe I should let go, and let God take over," she says.

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