NCI cancels Novartis cancer study

Poor Novartis--the blows keep coming. The National Cancer Institute has nuked a study designed to determine whether letrozole, a breast cancer drug made by the company, might actually prevent cancer; statistical analysis shows that it could lower risk of the disease by more than 70 percent. The study also would have included raloxifene, an osteoporosis drug made by Eli Lilly that's in the pipeline for approval for breast cancer use.

The NCI says its money would be better spent on studying women at high risk for breast cancer, rather than on studying the use of preventive drugs in a broad spectrum of women. The study would have been funded with $55 million from the NCI, $30 million from Novartis, and free drugs from Novartis and Eli Lilly. The study investigators have appealed to the NIH. 

- read the article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)

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