Curing Cancer

Michael Waldholz, Author
Michael Waldholz, Author Simon & Schuster $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-684-81125-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-684-84802-0
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A cure for cancer was once only a dream. New techniques for genetic research, however, have at last enabled scientists to study the role that genes play in tumor suppression or growth. By examining families with a disproportionate incidence of the disease, researchers have found that some types of cancer are inherited through damaged or mutated genes. As told by Wall Street Journal science reporter Waldholz (co-author of Genome), the story of cancer research unfolds with the intricacy of a fractal pattern and the human drama of a bestselling thriller. Waldholz gives minute-by-minute accounts of races between competing labs to find target cancer genes, and notes the often serendipitous discoveries through which theories were developed. He introduces researchers such as Mary-Claire King, who for years pursued the breast cancer gene, and Bert Vogelstein, whose discovery of a tumor suppressor gene ""changed cancer research forever."" Waldholz also writes with great sensitivity about cancer's impact on families and individuals, and the dilemmas that genetic testing can cause. Clearly, much remains to be learned about our deadliest illness, but those in the front lines of research are confident they are on the right track. ""Do I think all this [gene hunting] someday will lead to a cure?' says Mary-Claire King. ""You bet I do."" (Nov.) FYI: Vogelstein announced in London on September 17 that his team at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center and School of Medicine has discovered how the key tumor-suppressor gene functions.
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