Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

On the Life of John Menkes

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

John Hans Menkes was a well-known pediatric neurologist here in Los Angeles. He just died of cancer at the age of 79. He was well-known for having discovered what came to be known at Menkes syndrome, a rare childhood disorder. He is also the author of the “Textbook of Child Neurology” that has been the standard of the field for some thirty years. I write about him here because he played a role in the lives of two of our children. When our daughter Karen was diagnosed with a brain tumor at some seven months of age, it was John Menkes who referred us to the University of San Francisco for chemotherapy. In retrospect, the pursuit of all medical options with our daughter was probably unwise. She was effectively an experimental animal, pioneering a variety of treatments. In the case of the chemotherapy, for example, she was the youngest ever to be so treated. There weren’t even any guidelines for dosing infants at the time. (more…)

Report on the Cancer Control Conference

Wednesday, September 12th, 2007

Cancer Control Society LogoOne of the virtues of living in Los Angeles is that interesting conferences come to visit. I had occasion recently to attend the 35th annual meeting of the Cancer Control Society. It was illuminating to see one of these meetings from the perspective of an outsider.

Here we had yet another meeting of professionals who were largely sitting outside of the monolith of medicine—outside of the “medical monopoly” in cancer treatment of “poison, carve, or burn.” The mostly-MD speakers did not mince words. The flavor was a bit like the DAN Think Tank (Defeat Autism Now), and the American Academy of Pain Management, which are also populated by disaffected MDs. Everywhere there are rogue MDs looking for organizational frameworks where their creativity can be expressed; where they can escape the strictures of mainstream practice.

It had already been my impression that we are on the cusp of major breakthroughs in cancer treatment, and here it became clear that that has already been happening. The process has been under way, apparently, for some 35 years already. I picked up some literature dating back to the seventies just to see what current ideas can be traced back that far. (more…)


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