Drug resistance: Can targeting evolution be the solution?


Science has given doctors more and more powerful drugs to deploy against infectious diseases and cancers in recent decades, and yet many new therapies have failed to live up to their promise. Andrew Read has some ideas about how to change that. 

As an evolutionary biologist, Read views much drug therapy as an impossible game of "whack-a-mole," where microorganisms and cancer cells evolve and change to resist drugs and survive. Speaking to writers at the New Horizons in Science briefings presented by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing during the ScienceWriters2019 conference in State College, Pa., on Oct. 27, Read suggested that more and powerful drugs may not be the solution. Instead, he called for managing evolution to prevent the emergence of drug resistance in the first place.

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