The Philadelphia Chromosome by Jessica Wapner
A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level

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Wapner weaves together the basic and applied science with the stories of the dedicated researchers...An absorbing, complex medical detective story.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Philadelphia, 1959: A scientist scrutinizing a single human cell under a microscope detects a missing piece of DNA. That scientist, David Hungerford, had no way of knowing that he had stumbled upon 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.

Science journalist Jessica Wapner reconstructs more than forty years of crucial breakthroughs, clearly explains the science behind them, and pays tribute—with extensive original reporting, including more than thirty-five interviews—to the dozens of researchers, doctors, and patients with a direct role in this inspirational story. Their curiosity and determination would ultimately lead to a lifesaving treatment unlike anything before it.

The Philadelphia Chromosome chronicles the remarkable change of fortune for the more than 70,000 people worldwide who are diagnosed with CML each year. It is a celebration of a rare triumph in the battle against cancer and a blueprint for future research, as doctors and scientists race to uncover and treat the genetic roots of a wide range of cancers.

 

About Jessica Wapner

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Jessica Wapner is a freelance science writer focused mainly on health care and medicine. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Slate, The New York Times, theatlantic.com, New York, Science, Nature Medicine, the Ecologist, the Scientist, and Psychology Today. Her writing on cancer research and treatment has also appeared in the patient-focused magazines CR and Cure, and she has been a frequent contributor to the industry publication Oncology Business Review. She lives with her family in Beacon, New York. Author of One Renegade Cell: How Cancer Begins, and The Biology of Cancer, Robert Allan Weinberg is a Daniel K. Ludwig Professor for Cancer Research at MIT and American Cancer Society Research Professor; his research is in the area of oncogenes and the genetic basis of human cancer. Weinberg is also affiliated with the Broad Institute and is a founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.
 
Published April 29, 2014 by The Experiment. 344 pages
Genres: Professional & Technical, Science & Math, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The Philadelphia Chromosome
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

WSJ online

Below average
Reviewed by LAURA LANDRO on Jul 04 2013

Surprisingly, Ms. Wapner gives short shrift to bone-marrow transplantation, portraying it as the worst possible option when in fact it has saved the lives of many CML patients...She also dismisses the side effects of Gleevec as minimal.

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Kirkus

Good
on Feb 17 2013

Wapner weaves together the basic and applied science with the stories of the dedicated researchers...An absorbing, complex medical detective story.

Read Full Review of The Philadelphia Chromosome: ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

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