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The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer

For thousands of years, physicians observed cases of “spontaneous remissions” from cancer. These sudden and dramatic cancer cures were chalked up to magic or miracle. In fact it was the immune system, mysteriously unleashed.
Now scientists have learned to recreate that miracle with medicines so new that cancer patients- and even many doctors- don’t realize they exist.
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Nurse comes an empowering and accessible story of the discoveries of the tricks cancer uses to avoid the immune system, and the important new cancer immunotherapies already unleashing the immune system to fight – and beat – the disease.
Four years in the writing, THE BREAKTHROUGH is an “exciting read” about the discoveries which received the 2018 Nobel Prize winning discoveries in October, and a dramatic and exciting turning point in our relationship with a disease that has for too long defined us.
For decades, scientists have puzzled over one of medicine’s most confounding mysteries: Why doesn’t our immune system recognize and fight cancer the way it does other diseases, like the common cold?
As it turns out, the answer to that question can be traced to a series of tricks that cancer has developed to turn off normal immune responses-tricks that scientists have only recently discovered and learned to defeat. The result is what many are calling cancer’s “penicillin moment,” a revolutionary discovery in our understanding of cancer and how to beat it.
In THE BREAKTHROUGH, Graeber guides us through the surprisingly recent scientific discoveries that change the way we will treat- and maybe even beat- cancer in the years to come.
Amazingly, many patients, and even many doctors, are not fully aware of what many are calling our “penicillin moment” with cancer. With literally thousands of new therapies that harness the power of the immune system to recognize and fight cancer in clinical trials, it’s never been more important for patients to understand their choices, and empowered to ask better questions. In the new war against cancer, information is now a crucial weapon.
Groundbreaking, riveting, and expertly told, THE BREAKTHROUGH is a scientific mystery story about the quest to unleash our natural ability to recognize and defeat cancer, told through the experiences of the patients, physicians, and cancer immunotherapy researchers who are on the front lines. This is the incredible true story of the race to find a cure, a dispatch from the life-changing world of modern oncological science, and a brave new chapter in medical history.

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