, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 179-180

Any drug that works has a target

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Paul Ehrlich was one of the innovative scientists of the later nineteenth and early twentieth century. He provided much of the basis for chemotherapy that is used today in infectious disease and cancer. Ehrlich coined the term “magic bullet” to describe a chemical treatment that would kill the disease but leave the patient unharmed [1]. Today, we continue to search for magic bullets against cancer. We are fortunate to have many anticancer drugs that work and can now use them to cure a variety of cancers. Unfortunately, all have side effects, and sometimes the treatment does kill the patient whether or not it kills the cancer. As we begin to understand the mechanisms of anticancer drug action, the possibility of separating toxicity from effectiveness by hitting only very specific targets is becoming more realistic.

It is popular to make a distinction between “targeted” anticancer drugs and “traditional” or “cytotoxic” anticancer drugs that were developed in past years. However, as the ti