The first week of May shone a spotlight on research at OHSU at the institution’s annual Research Week. Part of the programming included a lecture by science writer and author Jessica Wapner, whose book “The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level” chronicles the true story of a scientist’s landmark discovery that helped identify the sole cause of a deadly blood cancer. The Philadelphia chromosome turned cancer research on its head and has lead to decades of work to find a cure for chronic myeloid leukemia.
Wapner, whose work focuses primarily on the science, medicine and social factors determining disease and health, spoke about her research into the crucial breakthroughs that ultimately lead to a lifesaving treatment unlike anything before it. Her talk also covered the research and career of Brian Druker, M.D., director of the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, who has lead the effort to speed cancer drug discovery for patients with acute myeloid leukemia.