publication date: Oct. 5, 2018

Guest Editorial

When your harmonica player wins the Nobel Prize


By Rachel Humphrey

Senior vice president and chief medical officer, CytomX Therapeutics

Lead singer of THE CHECKPOINTS


2017-TheCheckPoints-grouped-5x6THE CHECKPOINTS were born in 2007 on an escalator in Chicago. Here’s the story…

Back then, in an oncology era that we’ll fondly call “The Dark Ages,” no one, except a small gaggle of Don Quixotes, believed that the immune system could cure cancer. Immunotherapy stalwarts (like my friends and I) were such outcasts that our presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting were scheduled for the last day of the conference (when just about everyone had already gone home) and assigned to a lecture hall that was too remote for anything but sensible shoes.

In fact, the trip was so laborious that we never bothered to walk it more than once per day. Instead, we just planted ourselves there early in the morning and didn’t leave until lunchtime.

Access to the ASCO immuno-oncology diaspora required travel on an enormous lumbering escalator, with enough transit time between landings to eat a full tuna sandwich. It was on this very escalator, at the end of a satisfying, if ill-attended, series of lectures, that Tom Gajewski and … Continue reading When your harmonica player wins the Nobel Prize

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