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May 20, 2006

New York Cancer Consortium Developmental Therapeutics Symposium


I spent the day here, listening to some presentations about the cancer pathways these researchers were investigating.

During lunch, I happened to be sitting next to James Holland, MD. Since it seemed the predominant discussion in the morning sessions was that as more specific anti-cancer agents were being developed, fewer patients were responding pointing to the need for combination therapies and/or genetic analysis of these tumors, I asked Dr. Holland about this prospect. He didn't think that genetic analysis would be practical, and that a more common pathway for cancer such as telomerase (enzyme involved with survival of a cell through maintenance of DNA) should be explored as a target.

He also gave a speech to the lunch crowd, describing how he wrote a very controversial editorial for the New England Journal of Medicine back in the 70s. It prompted some of his peers to send letters complaining to the editor that his proposition was outrageous. The editor agreed that he should have considered the piece more carefully.

Dr. Holland's opus was about the use of adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.

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