Wednesday, April 11, 2012


  1. Sid spends time discussing the evolution of the science and medicine related to cancer treatment, whether surgical or medical.

    1. Borrowing from Joel Mokyr, what propositional knowledge has been involved?

    1. What prescriptive knowledge?

i.         for cancer cure versus palliative

ii. What is an ethical goal: (1) minimize patient suffering; or (2) search for cure?

  1. With respect to research, what is importance of (i) access to knowledge; and (ii) space to work?

  1. What cancer related technologies were evolutionary versus “paradigm shifting”?

    1. Which technologies offered “elegant” solutions?

    1. Did “paradigm shifters” need to evade societal/medical norms?

  1. How do societal beliefs and expectations about nature infect scientific conceptualization of cancer therapies?

    1.  cancer research during “industrial phase” versus “bioscience phase”

    1. shift from “kill or cut” cells to therapies designed to interrupt mutant genes

  1. Discuss Mary Lasker’s obsession versus big tobacco’s obsession.

  1. Wouldn’t the Lunar Men have loved the role of industrial dyes?

  1. Did anyone learn anything about cancer?

  1. Discuss Sid’s use of language.

    1. Did you reread any paragraphs solely because the paragraph was well written?

    1. Discuss role of Sid’s insider perspective on writing.

  1. Discuss roles of government versus university research with respect to “war on cancer.”

  1. There are two recent inventions that are changing people’s lives: (1) da Vinci surgical instruments (minimally invasive robotic micro-surgery); and (2) directional drilling techniques (which accounts for steep decrease in price of certain energy and is revitalizing portions of rust belt).  Comments about relative value of each?

  1. Is study of retroviruses and oncogenes “loopy”?

  1. Genes versus silicon?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Met Guy from Cancer Book

Sat next to V. Clifford Jordan on flight back from DC.  (p. 217).  He saw what I was reading and proceeded to tell me how it was a great book but that he was the real discoverer of Tamoxifen and not a follow on researcher as suggested.  He then inscribed my copy of the book at my request and we had a nice chat about what the author had gotten right and where he was a little out of his depth.  My only contribution was mentioning some of the antitrust litigation about efforts by the branded pharma companies to delay generic tamoxifen and related drugs from coming on the market.