I drew the short straw and represented the clan at morning worship. Even with the meager crowd, I was struck by how many cancer references filled the "Joys and Concerns". While I have looked and hoped for progress against this Hydra of disease, I offer this clear-eyed look at the growing reasonableness of such dreams.
After four decades of largely unfulfilled hopes—Dec. 23 marks 40 years since President Nixon declared war on cancer—scientists have hit on a potential cure that few thought possible a few years ago: vaccines. If they succeed, cancer vaccines would revolutionize treatment. They could spell the end of chemotherapy and radiation, which can have horrific side effects, which tumor cells often become resistant to, and which often make so little difference it would be laughable were it not so tragic: last week, for instance, headlines touted two new drugs for metastatic breast cancer even though studies failed to show that they extend survival by a single day. Vaccines could make such “advances” a thing of the past. And they could make cancer as preventable, with a few jabs, as measles. [More for reading]The writer, Sharon Begley, used to be the science writer for the WSJ, and is no lightweight. The whole article reinforces my hopes for generations to follow, and I thought it was an appropriate thing to share the Christmas Day.