Dr. Folkman's War: Angiogenesis and the Struggle to Defeat Cancer Hardcover – Feb 6 2001
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Early in 1998, New York Times science reporter and author Gina Kolata happened to be seated at a banquet next to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist James Watson. When Kolata asked Watson what was new in the world of science, he replied, "Judah Folkman and angiogenesis, that's what's new. Judah is going to cure cancer in two years."
Folkman, a longtime physician and medical researcher at Harvard University and Children's Hospital, was caught off guard by the excited news reports that followed Watson's remark, but there was good reason for excitement. For nearly four decades, when not busy doing such things as inventing the heart pacemaker and attending to hundreds of patients, Folkman had been puzzling out a peculiarity of tumors: at some point during their formation, they sent forth chemical signals that in effect "recruited" blood vessels to feed them. If those signals could be intercepted through well-targeted drugs, Folkman reasoned, and the blood supply to cancerous formations thus interrupted, then the tumors themselves might be starved to death, or at least to dormancy.
In this book, Newsday writer Robert Cooke offers an accessible account of Folkman's work on angiogenesis, or the formation of blood vessels, which may well point the way to new treatments for cancer and related illnesses. Following Folkman's roundabout trail, one marked by considerable resistance on the part of doubtful colleagues, readers will gain a sense of how medical research is conducted--and, almost certainly, a sense of wonder at the medical breakthroughs that, as James Watson hinted, are just around the corner. --Gregory McNamee
"Judah Folkman's answer-stop cancers by cutting off their blood supplies-has much too long been thought of as too simple to ever work. Now, however, a broad set of antiangiogenic agents based on Judah's ideas are coming on line. The verdict 'cancer' need no longer be synonymous with fear and despair. Our country's 'war against cancer' at last has found its general."
—JAMES D. WATSON, winner of the Nobel Prize and author of The Double Helix
"It is said that genius disdains the beaten path, and that's certainly true of Dr. Judah Folkman. He has suffered for it, but his imagination, his persistence-and yes, his glorious obsession-will benefit us all. We owe him our boundless gratitude."
-JONATHAN HARR, author of A Civil Action
"Rarely in the history of modem biomedical research has a major advance been attributable directly to the energies and vision of a single individual. This is such a story, about one man's vision, drive, indeed obsession with an idea that will one day dramatically change cancer therapy."
-ROBERT A. WEINBERG, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and MIT, author of One Renegade Cell: How Cancer Begins and Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer
"I first encountered Judah Folkman when I was a surgical intern at Boston City Hospital. His already legendary crisp intellect provided a logical scaffold for my understanding of complex diseases. Judah, full of warmth and humanity, inspired me and generations of young doctors and scientists to pursue careers in his image. Dr Folkman's War does a masterly job of describing his gentle and determined magic. We are fortunate that Mr. Cooke has so meticulously, engagingly, and honestly captured Judah's story. It will serve as a powerful beacon for all who tenaciously pursue the understanding and treatment of human disease."
-WARREN M. ZAPOL, Reginald Jenney Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School, and anesthetist-in-chief, Massachusetts General Hospital
"Sadly, my first meeting with Dr. Judah Folkman may have and most likely did come too late. We met as I searched desperately for a medical solution to the critical illness of my wife, Winnie, but by then her cancer had advanced beyond salvation. Nonetheless, I was deeply impressed by what I learned of Dr. Folkman's pioneering work in the cancer research field and his personal commitment and that of his close associates to success in this vital effort."
"Robert Cooke is without a doubt the most scrupulous and judicious science writer I have ever known. His strong passion for accuracy and fair play sings from every page of Dr Folkman's War, taking the battle against cancer beyond sensationalism to a place that is at once informative and exciting. Because the book is grounded, as such journalism should be, on solid science, hope sounds from it all the more loudly."
-LAURIE GARRETT, author of Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health
Top Customer Reviews
Folkman is one of those people who are in science and medicine for the benefits of others, as well as because he enjoys what he does. These are the types of people who ultimately do the most good. They quietly persist in their endeavors, and let their work tell the story. Too many times, scientists allow their questions and the answers to those questions to be influenced by the egos of their peers, the quest for fame and money (especially in biotechnology and genetics), and by fear of ridicule. It is unfortunate that so much science is done in labs throughout the world in such a way as to crush those who have unique ideas and can add creativity to the scientific endeavor.
Folkman obviously made his lab a wonderful place to work in. To do that and be a good teacher, as well as an excellent researcher (who cares if he is a surgeon...it's the questions that are asked and researched that are important, not who does the asking). Those who were able to work with him and in his lab had valuable experiences, that happens all too rarely in the labs in this country.Read more ›
Dr. Folkman's broad mind and broad view of things are almost incredible. In the 'publish-or-perish' 'world of medicine, his broad-mindedness brought a great progress in the treatment of giant hemangioma, diabetic gangrene, diabetic retinopathy, or coronary heart disease, to say nothing of cancer therapy.
Dr. Isner's comment about Dr. folkaman is intriguing.
"Plenty of other people in that position, had they reviewed that paper, would have rejected it and then set their own laboratories to work on that subject, or they would maybe have stalled the paper, or done anything they could to have stomped out any potential competition. But he did just the opposite. He promoted it."
He was never territorial or overly protective of this field he had invented and happy to help other scientists push ahead, even if they were competitors.
He must be the ideal "Boss".
Most recent customer reviews
This book by Robert Cooke is incredible! Mr. Cooke is able to explain to the average layperson the medical concepts of angeiogeneis conceived by the most under-valued person of... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2003 by L Hay
Folkman is a paradox in the medical research world. He is a highly talented and committed surgeon by training - a profession ruthlessly focused on "results - now! Read morePublished on June 2 2001 by Amazon Customer
I have read quite a few books about the science of disease research and this is one of the best yet. Folkman's story is fascinating and Cooke tells it well. Read morePublished on March 14 2001 by rob
Why Medtronic must build Folkman Institute for Angiogenic Research in Boston? Who is a real father of academic capitalism? How great bioscientist selects and trains great pupils? Read morePublished on March 1 2001 by Informed reader
This book clearly deserves many more than five stars.
Dr. Folkman's War contains many valuable insights including how to: Raise children to be outstanding people; be an... Read more
This is a story of brilliance and persistence. Dr. Folkman pursued a different approach to cancer in spite of resistence and hostility from the cancer research establishment. Read morePublished on Feb. 24 2001 by Johnny Quest
Through long, arduous practice, Buddhists believe it is possible to remove the lens of self-interest and dogma to perceive "absolute reality," with "automatic... Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2001
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