Nice piece yesterday from, of all people Marlo Thomas (yes, that Marlo Thomas) on recent research in cancer. Why is Marlo Thomas writing about cancer? I have no idea.
To celebrate Cancer Awareness Month, she asked some top cancer researchers about what makes them optimistic about the future of cancer research.
She got some Big Names from St. Jude's, Dana-Farber, Sloan Kettering and the like to give their opinions.
At the center of all of their responses is DNA. As Thomas says, a researcher "looks at the
normal DNA of the patient, and then compares it with the DNA of the
cancer cell in that patient. Typically, these two samples are going to
look more than 99.99 percent the same. But it is that tiny difference
that holds the secret to what is causing the cancer. What is needed then
is a drug that can correct the problems caused by that DNA damage." Ten years ago, we couldn't even see the DNA. Five years ago, we couldn't classify cancers the way we can now, based on DNA analysis. And that ability is what makes Dr. Charles Sawyers of Sloan Kettering say, "It's why I rush to work every day."
How's that for optimism? It's just what I want to hear from a cancer researcher.
The piece is well done, and it includes some nice statements from the various cancer professionals. Well worth a read, especially if you're looking for a reason to be optimistic.
(And I actually do know why Marlo Thomas is writing about cancer. Her father, Danny Thomas, founded St. Jude Children's Hospital, and she has carried on his work. Thanks, Marlo.)