The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Genetic Mystery, a Lethal Cancer, and the Improbable Invention of a Life-Saving Treatment

The Experiment
7
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The discovery of a cancer-causing genetic mutation leads to a lifesaving miracle drug in this “absorbing, complex medical detective story” (Kirkus Reviews).

Philadelphia, 1959. A scientist scrutinizing a single human cell detects a missing piece of DNA. That scientist, David Hungerford, has just stumbled on the starting point of modern cancer research?the Philadelphia chromosome.

It would take doctors and researchers around the world more than three decades to unravel the implications of this landmark discovery. In 1990, the Philadelphia chromosome was recognized as the sole cause of a deadly blood cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML. Cancer research would never be the same.

With extensive research and numerous personal interviews, science journalist Jessica Wapner reconstructs the decades-long journey from Hungerford’s discovery to a breakthrough, lifesaving treatment. A chronicle of scientific rigor and determination, The Philadelphia Chromosome celebrates a rare triumph in the battle against cancer while offering a blueprint for future research.

One of The Wall Street Journal’s 10 Best Nonfiction Books of 2013
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About the author

Jessica Wapner is a freelance writer focused mainly on healthcare and medicine. Her work is published in The New York Times, Scientific American, Slate, Science, Nature Medicine, Ode, and Psychology Today. Her writing on cancer research and treatment also appears in the science magazines Oncology Business Review, Cure, and CR. Her blog, Work in Progress, is part of the PLoS Blog Network and focuses on the ethics and economics of drug development. She was the founding managing editor of two review journals, Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology and Gastroenterology & Hepatology, and also served as editor for Oncology Spectrum. She lives in Beacon, New York, with her husband and two young children.

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Additional Information

Publisher
The Experiment
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Published on
Apr 29, 2014
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Pages
328
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ISBN
9781615191659
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / History
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Epigenetic Mechanisms in Cancer provides a comprehensive analysis of epigenetic signatures that govern disease development, progression and metastasis. Epigenetic signatures dictating tumor etiologies present an opportunity for biomarker identification which has broad potential for improving diagnosis, prognosis, prediction, and risk assessment. This volumes offers a unique evaluation of signature differences in childhood, sex-specific and race-specific cancers, and in doing so broadly illuminates the scope of epigenetic biomarkers in clinical environments. Chapters detail the major epigenetic process in humans consisting of DNA methylation, histone modifications and microRNAs (miRNAs) involved in the initiation, progression and metastasis of tumors. Also delineated are recent technologies such as next generation sequencing that are used to identify epigenetic profiles (primarily methylation analysis) in samples (normal, benign and cancerous) and which are highly important to the analysis of epigenetic outcomes.Offers broad coverage that is applicable to audiences in various area of cancer research - population studies, diagnostics, prognosis, prediction, therapy, risk, etc.Provides critical review analysis of the topics that will clarify and delineate the potential roles of epigenetic signatures in cancer managementCovers basic, as well as, clinical areas of epigenetic mechanisms in tumorigenesisFeatures contributions by leading experts in the fieldProvides comprehensive coverage of current epigenetic signatures involved in the etiology of various cancers and miRNAs
Gene therapy as a treatment for cancer is at a critical point in its evolution. Exciting new developments in gene targeting and vector technology, coupled with results from the first generation of preclinical and clinical studies have led to the design and testing of new therapeutic approaches. The Third Edition of Gene Therapy of Cancer provides crucial updates on the basic and applied sciences of gene therapy. It offers a comprehensive assessment of the field including the areas of suicide gene therapy, oncogene and suppressor gene targeting, immunotherapy, drug resistance gene therapy, and the genetic modification of stem cells. Researchers at all levels of development, from basic laboratory investigators to clinical practitioners, will find this book to be instructive.

Cancer gene therapy, like cancer therapy in general, is evolving rapidly, testing new concepts, targets and pathways, evoking new technologies, and passing new regulatory hurdles. Its essence, however, has not changed: the hope and challenges of returning altered genes to normal, using targeted gene expression to alter the function of both tumor and microenvironment, and in some cases normal cells, and delivering functionally important genes to specific cell types to increase sensitivity to killing or to protect normal cells from cancer therapies.

In some instances, gene therapy for cancer forms a continuum from gene repair through the use of molecularly modified cells; the use of viral and non-viral vector based gene delivery to both tumor and tumor microenvironment; the use of viral and gene based vaccines; and development of new gene-based therapeutics. The unique mechanistically chosen vector platforms are at the heart of this technology because they allow for direct and selective cell death and transient to sustained delivery of vaccine molecules or molecules that affect the microenvironment, vasculature, or the immune response.

Explains the underlying cancer biology necessary for understanding proposed therapeutic approaches Presents in-depth description of targeting systems and treatment strategiesCovers the breadth of gene therapy approaches including immunotherapeutic, drug resistance,oncolytic viruses, as well as regulatory perspectives from both the NCI and FDA
When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is a revolution under way—an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from. In a provocative and intellectually vibrant exploration, he takes us on an adventure through the history and recent advances of cancer research that will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease.

Deftly excavating and illuminating decades of investigation and analysis, he reveals what we know and don’t know about cancer, showing why a cure remains such a slippery concept. We follow him as he combs through the realms of epidemiology, clinical trials, laboratory experiments, and scientific hypotheses—rooted in every discipline from evolutionary biology to game theory and physics. Cogently extracting fact from a towering canon of myth and hype, he describes tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body, paleo-oncologists who uncover petrified tumors clinging to the skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient human ancestors, and the surprising reversals in science’s comprehension of the causes of cancer, with the foods we eat and environmental toxins playing a lesser role. Perhaps most fascinating of all is how cancer borrows natural processes involved in the healing of a wound or the unfolding of a human embryo and turns them, jujitsu-like, against the body.

Throughout his pursuit, Johnson clarifies the human experience of cancer with elegiac grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies, and other treatments. He finds compassion, solace, and community among a vast network of patients and professionals committed to the fight and wrestles to comprehend the cruel randomness cancer metes out in his own family. For anyone whose life has been affected by cancer and has found themselves asking why?, this book provides a new understanding. In good company with the works of Atul Gawande, Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Abraham Verghese, The Cancer Chronicles is endlessly surprising and as radiant in its prose as it is authoritative in its eye-opening science. 
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, and now a documentary from Ken Burns on PBS, The Emperor of All Maladies is a magnificent, profoundly humane “biography” of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the twentieth century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

Physician, researcher, and award-winning science writer, Siddhartha Mukherjee examines cancer with a cellular biologist’s precision, a historian’s perspective, and a biographer’s passion. The result is an astonishingly lucid and eloquent chronicle of a disease humans have lived with—and perished from—for more than five thousand years.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out “war against cancer.” The book reads like a literary thriller with cancer as the protagonist.

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave may have cut off her diseased breast, to the nineteenth-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee’s own leukemia patient, Carla, The Emperor of All Maladies is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Riveting, urgent, and surprising, The Emperor of All Maladies provides a fascinating glimpse into the future of cancer treatments. It is an illuminating book that provides hope and clarity to those seeking to demystify cancer.
The #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller
A New York Times Notable Book
A Washington Post and Seattle Times Best Book of the Year

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies—a fascinating history of the gene and “a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick” (Elle).

“Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost” (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

“Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories…[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry” (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee’s own family—with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness—reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation—from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

“A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are—and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future” (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. “The Gene is a book we all should read” (USA TODAY).
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