Fighting Cancer

Weizmann Global Gathering 2014: Partners in Scientific Advancement, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee

One of today’s most engaging science communicators, Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee held the audience spellbound during his presentation as part of the Partners in Scientific Advancement section of the 2014 Global Gathering. His 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” made the sprawling, complicated topic accessible, and Dr. Mukherjee compressed the history of cancer studies, from primitive to sophisticated, into a few comprehensible minutes, later clarifying that there is no such thing as “cancer” – rather, we have “cancers,” plural. Furthermore, each cancer has its own microenvironment, its own genetics, and these not only vary from person to person and cancer to cancer, but even within a tumor. As he spoke to the current state, and the future, of cancer research, it was hard not to reflect over the hundreds of years of false starts and dead ends – and even all the successes – and still realize that we still have so far to go.