‘You have cancer’
It must be the most dreaded sentence in modern society. Our fear of cancer is well founded and for those suffering from Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML), before 1999, there was only a slim chance of survival. Caused by a single translocation called the Philadelphia chromosome, it took only 40 years to go from a chemotherapy resistant and often fatal disease to a manageable condition with an oral tablet. This is a remarkable story of science, persistence and triumph.
As Dr Travis Brown says,
“When chromosomes were discovered in the late 1800’s, their nature and function was unclear.
In 1910, Thomas Hunt Morgan identified the link between chromosomes and inheritance.
In 1959, Peter Nowell & David Hungerford discovered CMLs Philadelphia chromosome, but where had the segment of chr 22 gone?
In 1973, Dr Janet Rowley found it.
In 1999, Dr Brian Druker treated it.”