Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Genes (and Cancer)

It's that time of year -- ASCO is just around the corner! The American Society of Clinical Oncology conference will take place June 3-7 in Chicago. There is usually some good stuff that comes out of ASCO; researchers sometimes announce early results from clinical trials. Sometimes those results are late in the game, just before they are sent out for peer review and publication in medical and science journals. Others are very early -- maybe a new treatment tried out on just a few patients. But there's almost alays a few things to be hopeful about.

As I have done for the last few years, my plan is to look at abstracts related to Follicular Lymphoma, and report on the things that seem interesting to me.

Unfortunately, I haven't even had a chance to look at the ASCO web site yet. It's been busy at work, and my kids are in the last few desperate weeks of school. To top it all off, my boss has left the country for six weeks and put me in charge. Ugh. It's been one day and I've been going non-stop.

So I'll get a chance to slow down and catch my breath and read some ASCO abstracts soon.

In the meantime, I'll share with you a fascinating interview with Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, the oncologist who wrote Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, a fantastic book about cancer and its treatments. Very readable and very informative.

Dr. Mukherjee has a new book out, called The Gene: An Intimate History. The book focuses on what we know about genes -- knowledge that has increased at an incredible pace in the last few years. The interview (which was on the NPR radio show Fresh Air, and lasts about 37 minutes long) does talk about cancer, and how our understanding of genes has given even more hope for cures (or maybe just treating some cancers as long-term chronic diseases). But he also gets into some of the potential ethical dangers of knowing so much about how genes contribute to our lives.

Great interview, and a fascinating-sounding book. It's on my summer reading list.

Come back soon for some ASCO news.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the reading tip. Wishing you a great Summer!