The Emperor of All Maladies: An Evening with Dr. Mukherjee

Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee,  Photo Courtesy of Deborah FeingoldJoin us for a special evening on Wednesday, May 11th at the Abromson Center in Portland, Maine with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee as he explores the history and the future of cancer.

This special presentation will be held one night only with limited seating, from 7pm - 9pm.

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Dr. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician. He graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.

His Pulitzer-Prize winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, was later adapted into a documentary by filmmaker Ken Burns.

Dr. Mukherjee will be releasing his new book The Gene, An Intimate History on May 17, 2016.

For more information about this special evening, please contact Maine Cancer Foundation or call (207) 773-2533).
 


The Emperor of All MaladiesTHE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES: A Biography of Cancer is the winner of 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction. Ten years in the making, Siddhartha Mukherjee’s epic history is a magnificently written “biography” of this shape-shifting and formidable disease that has plagued and riddled humanity for thousands of years.

From the first known reference to cancer on an ancient Egyptian scroll to the epic modern battles to conquer it, Mukherjee, a leading cancer physician and researcher, approaches this crucial subject with the passion and fixation of a biographer and the flourish of a novelist.

THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES is a story that touches on the brilliance and tenacity that frequently make scientific history also on the serendipitous discoveries. Mukherjee introduces readers to key figures such as Sidney Farber, the father of modern chemotherapy, holed up in the cellar of a Boston hospital and characterized by a colleague as a “cancer maniac,” and William Halsted, bewhiskered, obsessive, and addicted to cocaine, who created and perfected the radical and super-radical mastectomies that became the norm in breast cancer treatment.

We learn about the accidental discovery during World War I of mustard gas as a method for killing cancer cells, and from there the experimental evolution into the specialized chemicals that are just deadly enough to kill cancerous cells without killing normal cells. Mukherjee tells these stories with the grand sweep that marks THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES as a major work of literature, seamlessly weaving significant moments in cultural history into the narrative. It is also something more personal: readers will be moved by Mukherjee’s observations about his own coming of age as a physician—especially in his thoughtful and compassionate consideration of his patients as they soldier through toxic, bruising, and draining regimens to battle a relentless disease that fully envelops their lives.

In the past 50 years, Americans have watched as various strategies in the “War on Cancer” have earned the attention of politicians, physicians, the media and, of course, the public. By the end of 2010, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide. Cases of cancer doubled globally between 1975 and 2000, and will double again by 2020, nearly tripling by 2030. In America, one in two men and one in three women will get cancer during their lifetime; one in four will die. THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES could not be more timely nor essential reading, and Mukherjee writes with such clarity and verve that we feel enlightened, even uplifted, despite those grim figures.
 


The Gene: An Intimate HistoryTHE GENE: An Intimate History, Siddhartha Mukherjee's follow-up to the bestselling, Pulitzer-winning The Emperor of All Maladies, is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code of instructions that makes and defines humans, that governs our form, function, and fate and determines the future of our children. 
 
Every bit as deft, brilliant, and illuminating as Emperor, THE GENE interweaves science, social history, and the story of Mukherjee's own family to explain the powerful science of genetics and to grapple with the extraordinary influence of heredity on our lives, personalities, identities, and choices. Scribner will publish THE GENE with conspicuous pride on May 17, 2016.
 
Beginning in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856, where a monk named Gregor Mendel stumbled on the idea of a "unit of heredity" while working with pea plants, and intersecting with Darwin's theory of evolution and the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940's, the gene ultimately transformed post-war biology, society and culture—and still sits at the epicenter of some of the most vital personal and political issues today.
 
In superb prose, and with an instinct for the inherent drama in this centuries-long story, Mukherjee enumerates the realms transformed by the understanding of the gene: race and identity, sexuality, gender identity, sexual preference, temperament, even free will.
 
Crucially, THE GENE is also a preparation for the moral complexity introduced by our ability to create or "write" a genome—and thus determine human fate—culminating in a radical "manifesto" for the new century of the gene, as it attempts to explain the enormous conundrums raised by the revolutionary technology to create humans carrying new genetic codes. Interwoven with this story of human ingenuity and obsessive minds is the story of Mukherjee's own family and its recurring pattern of schizophrenia—and the use of genes to diagnose, predict, and treat illness, even before the symptoms of a disease might appear. In Mukherjee's own words, "if manipulating genes allows us to change human identities and fates, then the science of genetics cannot remain confined to the laboratory. Every human being needs know and understand this story, for it is ultimately a story of ourselves and our future."
 
Majestic in its aspiration, unflinching in its reckoning, THE GENE provides the definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity—and a vision for both humanity's past and future. I hope you will make plans for THE GENE in your May/June coverage, and look forward to being in touch.
 
SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE is the author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize. An assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School.


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About New England Cancer Specialists

New England Cancer Specialists is a physician-owned, patient-centered medical practice, recognized as a leader in cancer patient care, treatment, and research. With nearly half of Maine’s medical oncologists and hematologists on our team, it is the region’s largest oncology group, serving people in need throughout New England. New England Cancer Specialists is one of only 10 Oncology Medical Homes in the country, accredited by the Commission on Cancer. No other cancer program in the region has been awarded the quality designations or offers the array of services that New England Cancer Specialists provides. New England Cancer Specialists has three locations, in Kennebunk, Scarborough, and Brunswick.