Breakthrough: The Race to Find The Breast Cancer Geneby Kevin Davies, Michael White, Michael James Denham White
Breakthrough The Race to Find the Breast Cancer Gene September 1994. "The most impassioned and publicly visible of all genetic races" (The New York Times) comes to a triumphant close with the discovery of BRCAl, popularly known as the breast cancer gene. The result of a four-year international effort involving scientists from the United States, Canada, England,
Breakthrough The Race to Find the Breast Cancer Gene September 1994. "The most impassioned and publicly visible of all genetic races" (The New York Times) comes to a triumphant close with the discovery of BRCAl, popularly known as the breast cancer gene. The result of a four-year international effort involving scientists from the United States, Canada, England, France, and Japan, among others, it is hailed as one of the most significant discoveries in recent medical science. Breakthrough is the brilliant account of this historic undertaking, its origins and development, and its implications for the future. With vivid profiles of the people and politics behind the events, Kevin Davies and Michael White unfold a scientific detective story that offers a rare glimpse into the complexand fiercely competitiveworld of genetic research. The race began in October 1990, when Dr. Mary-Claire King startled the American Society of Human Genetics with the news that after fifteen years, her research group had found irrefutable evidence of a gene linking heredity and the risk of breast cancer. From that moment on, the quest to isolate the gene became the focus of worldwide attention, eventually reaching fever pitch. In a race against time and one another, "researchers relentlessly zeroed in on a piece of DNA too small to see, for a prize too enormous to contemplate." In addition to the pioneering Dr. King, the distinguished scientists profiled include the renowned Francis Collins, who discovered the genes for cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease, and Mark Skolnick, the entrepreneurial founder of Myriad Genetics, who made fascinating use of the genealogical records of Mormons in his quest for the gene. The intensity of the project brought out the extremes of scientific research, from exhilarating enthusiasm and cooperation to heated rivalry. Beyond its fast-paced chronicle of discovery, Breakthrough is also a story of the politics of illness, focusing on the impact of the women’s movement on breast cancer research and the changing attitudes of the past twenty-five years. Although, as the authors state, our "heightened awareness of the disease has been very late in coming," there is genuine cause for hope. Looking to the future, they explore current methods of screening and treatment as well as the prospects for a cure. In the United States alone, 183,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year50,000 in women under the age of forty. Breakthrough is proof that modern medicine can at last offer something tangible in the battle against a unique disease about which shockingly little is known.
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Meet the Author
Kevin Davies, Ph.D., is the editor of Nature Genetics, the leading journal on genetic research. He has written widely for science periodicals, including Nature and New Scientist, and for the Times (London). He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Michael White is a science journalist and co-author of numerous books, including Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science and Einstein: A Life in Science. He lives in London.
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