Jessica Wapner

discusses

The Philadelphia Chromosome:
A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level

This event includes a book signing

Date

May
21
Tuesday
May 21, 2013
7:00 PM

Location

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Tickets

This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store is pleased to welcome science writer JESSICA WAPNER for a discussion of her new book, The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level.

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. This book charts not only that landmark discovery, but also—for the first time, all in one place—the full sequence of scientific and medical discoveries that brought about the first-ever successful treatment of a lethal cancer at the genetic level.

The significance of this mutant chromosome would take more than three decades to unravel; in 1990, it was recognized as the sole cause of a deadly blood cancer, chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML. This dramatic discovery launched a race involving doctors and researchers around the world, who recognized that in principle it might be possible to target CML at its genetic source.

Science journalist Jessica Wapner brings extensive original reporting to this book, including interviews with more than thirty-five people with a direct role in this story. Wapner reconstructs more than forty years of crucial breakthroughs, clearly explains the science behind them, and pays tribute to the dozens of researchers, doctors, and patients whose curiosity and determination restored the promise of a future to the more than 70,000 people worldwide who are diagnosed with CML each year. Chief among them is researcher and oncologist Dr. Brian Druker, whose dedication to his patients fueled his quest to do everything within his power to save them.

The Philadelphia Chromosome helps us to fully understand and appreciate just how pathbreaking, hard-won, and consequential are the achievements it recounts—and to understand the principles behind much of today’s most important cancer research, as doctors and scientists race to uncover and treat the genetic roots of a wide range of cancers.

Jessica Wapner
Jessica Wapner

Jessica Wapner

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.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

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