publication date: Jun. 3, 2016

Letter to the Editor

Progress Against Cancer:
It Comes in Waves and Ripples 

 

In 1916, Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves. It took almost 100 years and the construction of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) to show that he was right. In 2015, a brilliant team of researchers detected gravitational ripples that had been generated by the collision of two black holes about 1.3 billion years ago.

What can we learn from this amazing achievement? First, science requires patience – major breakthroughs rarely happen overnight. Second, the most important steps forward are often not immediately obvious.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2014, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) polled its members to identify the top five advances in oncology. The top winner of this friendly competition was the development of a cure for Hodgkin’s lymphoma by means of combination chemotherapy. But the story behind the cure reveals the importance of continuous innovation – stepwise advances in research and discovery that build on each other to create sea changes in the oncology standard of care.

On its timeline of major milestones in cancer progress, ASCO pins this cure for Hodgkin’s lymphoma to 1965, while acknowledging that the original regimen has since been continuously improved to become more effective and less toxic.

Dr. Vincent DeVita Jr., a key player in the development of this first cure for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, vividly describes the intense work and struggles that … Continue reading 42-22 Letter to the Editor – Progress Against Cancer: It Comes in Waves and Ripples

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