A Biography of Cancer

A Biography of Cancer

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The New York Academy of Sciences

Columbia University cancer researcher and acclaimed author Siddharta Mukherjee joins Science & the City for a public lecture explaining the history of cancer. Named one of the top 10 books of 2010 by the New York Times, Mukherjee's The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer has been called a magnificent, profoundly humane "biography" of cancer—from its first documented appearances thousands of years ago through the epic battles in the 20th century to cure, control, and conquer it to a radical new understanding of its essence.

The story of cancer is a story of human ingenuity, resilience, and perseverance, but also of hubris, paternalism, and misperception. Mukherjee recounts centuries of discoveries, setbacks, victories, and deaths, told through the eyes of his predecessors and peers, training their wits against an infinitely resourceful adversary that, just three decades ago, was thought to be easily vanquished in an all-out "war against cancer."

From the Persian Queen Atossa, whose Greek slave cut off her malignant breast, to the 19th-century recipients of primitive radiation and chemotherapy to Mukherjee's own leukemia patient, Carla, his book is about the people who have soldiered through fiercely demanding regimens in order to survive—and to increase our understanding of this iconic disease.

Mukherjee will provide a history of, as well as a glimpse into the future of, cancer treatments.

Reception to follow.

Speaker

Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD

Columbia University Medical Center

Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at Columbia University Medical Center. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and The New Republic. He lives in New York with his wife and daughters.

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