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April 19, 1952

Selective Toxicity with Special Reference to Chemotherapy

JAMA. 1952;148(16):1457. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.02930160093042

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This subject has grown in scientific and commercial importance during the present century. The advent of certain weed killers and insecticides is an outgrowth of the use of selectively toxic agents, which injure undesirable forms of life without too seriously damaging the desirable forms. The author has chosen to review the toxicants, not in their order of economic importance but rather as to how well understood their action might be. This is defended on the ground that the mechanisms by which selectively toxic agents may act are limited; therefore, study of the known mechanisms of action may enable development of new approaches.

The author's style is clear and concise, and the material is discussed in an interesting and thought provoking sequence. The importance of comparative biochemistry as the key to revelation of metabolic differences that lead to the discovery of selectively toxic materials is developed soundly. The physicochemical and pharmacologic

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