New York Times bestselling author Charles Graeber tells the astonishing story of the group of scientists working on a code that can enable the human immune system to fight — and perhaps even cure — cancer.
For decades, scientists have puzzled over one of medicine’s greatest mysteries: why doesn’t our immune system fight cancer the way it does other diseases? The answer is a series of tricks that cancer has developed to turn off normal immune responses — tricks that scientists have only recently discovered, and now are learning to defeat. We are in the midst of a revolution in our understanding of cancer and how to beat it.
Groundbreaking, riveting, and expertly told, The Breakthrough is the story of the game-changing and Nobel Prize-winning scientific discoveries that unleash our natural ability to recognise and defeat cancer, as told through the experiences of the patients, physicians, and immunotherapy researchers who are on the front lines. This is the incredible true story of the race to find a cure, and the definitive account of a historic moment in medical science.
‘A gripping chronicle of the 100-year overnight success of immunotherapy. For myself and millions of other cancer survivors, The Breakthrough is a book of immense and essential hope.’
Michael Fitzgerald, co-founder and CEO of Submittable and author of Radiant Days
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‘There is no villain more ruthless than cancer, which has robbed us all of loved ones who had to endure untold suffering before they succumbed. But after decades of frustration and toil, scientists finally understand how to vanquish the disease by activating the human body's natural defences. The intimate stories behind this triumph lie at the heart of Charles Graeber's The Breakthrough, an expertly crafted and exhilarating account of life-saving ingenuity at its most dazzling. You will never encounter another book so incisive about the art of medical sleuthing, or so poetic about our innate drive to hold on to all that's beautiful in this world for as long as we can.’
Brendan I. Koerner, Wired contributing editor and author of The Skies Belong to Us
‘Lucid and informed … Graeber gives readers a basis for both understanding the challenges involved and for cautious optimism that a cure can be found.’
‘Graeber concisely reviews the science of cancer … The risks of tinkering with an intricate immune system are obviously high, even perilous. But the potential reward is a cure. Exciting reading.’
‘Imagine a vaccine that could cure cancer. As this book reports, that possibility may not be far off … [T]he book offers hope for more effective treatments in the near future. A readable survey of the emerging field of immunotherapy in cancer treatment.’
‘In Mr Graeber’s hands, the evolution of immuno-oncology is both captivating and heartbreaking.’
David A. Shaywitz, The Wall Street Journal
‘Graeber’s writing is swift and clear, as if he can barely contain his enthusiasm for the subject — and, in fact, he can’t contain it ... One or two chapters are weighted down by talk of cell division and the like but, for the most part, Graeber paints vivid portraits of people who have cancer or are trying to conquer it ... a rare and thrilling thing: a hopeful, even inspiring, book about cancer.’
Chris Hewitt, Minneapolis Star Tribune
‘The extraordinary story of how medical research may finally have made the ultimate breakthrough – a cure for cancer.’
Bianca Nogrady, Sydney Morning Herald
‘The new book by Charles Graeber, The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer, artfully traces the history of old and new developments that may have — finally — resulted in an actual cure for the most dreaded of all diseases.’
Mimi Swartz, The New York Times