My mother died of cancer 29 years ago. Since then, the scientists working to unravel cancer’s complexities and find new therapies are my heroes.
Dr. Kimberly Blackwell, a cancer doctor at Duke University, is one of the bright young stars in the field. She is developing and improving treatments that target the HER2 protein present in a particularly aggressive type of breast cancer.
Dubbed a “smart bomb,” the treatment, which consists of an antibody specific to the tumor, loaded with an anticancer toxin, improves survival rates with fewer unpleasant side effects because the healthy cells aren’t attacked. Kimberly’s research builds on the pioneering work of the University of California, Los Angeles’ Dr. Dennis Slamon, who developed Herceptin, the first drug targeting HER2-positive breast cancer.
This disease has taken too many friends and loved ones. The brilliant work of Kimberly and scientists like her gives us real hope that we may, at last, be turning the corner in the fight against cancer.
Lansing, the former chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures and founder of the Sherry Lansing Foundation, is a co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer
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