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Logo-SINP Title Logo : M K Gandhi

Saha Memorial Lecture : Harold Eliot Varmus, Nobel Laureate

Title                : Fifty Years of Cancer Research : Then and Now
Date & Time : November 12, 2018, 3.00 PM
Venue            : Meghnad Saha Auditorium, SINP

Abstract :  Fifty years ago, cancer was a mysterious illness, arising in many tissues and associated with a variety of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors, but not understood mechanistically. Thanks largely to advances in the study of cancer-causing animal viruses, a consensus view emerged, claiming that cancer is driven by mutations of various kinds that afflict normal cellular genes that normally govern functions ranging from cell growth and division to cell death and differentiation.   With the advent of high throughput DNA and RNA sequencing methods, we have recently learned about human carcinogenesis in extraordinary detail; the new information is changing diagnostic categories and supporting the development of new therapies, based on targeted inhibition of mutant proteins and on the unleashing of immune responses to mutated cells.   At the same time, we have come to recognize that cancers are heterogeneous, evolutionary systems that are adept at evading the effects of these novel therapies.   I will discuss the kinds of work that will need to be done if we are going to exploit our expanded understanding of cancer to reduce the enormous toll that this disease continues to impose on society.

Profile :  Harold Varmus, M.D., co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for studies of the genetic basis of cancer, joined the Meyer Cancer Center of Weill Cornell Medicine as the Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine in April, 2015. Dr. Varmus was the Director of the National Cancer Institute for five years, the President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for 10 years, and Director of the National Institutes of Health for six years. He is a member of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences and Medicine, is involved in several initiatives to promote science and health in developing countries, and serves on advisory groups for several academic, governmental, philanthropic, and commercial institutions. Dr. Varmus was a co-chair of President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a co-founder and Chairman of the Board of the Public Library of Science, and chair of the Scientific Board of the Gates Foundation Grand Challenges in Global Health.



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