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Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Origin of Cancer Paperback – September 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 263 pages
  • Publisher: I B S Books Stocked (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0716732831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0716732839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,359,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's been some 20 years since a book of medical literature has captured the interest, let alone the excitement, of young people considering a career in medicine or biology. Racing to the Beginning of the Road is a welcome end to that trend. Author Dr. Robert Weinberg, director of the oncology research lab at the Whitehead Institute of Technology, relates several theories on the origins of cancer. He recounts scientific breakthroughs throughout the story and paints delightfully human portrayals of the scientists involved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The realization that viruses cause certain types of cancer, resulting from research conducted from the mid-1970s to the mid-'80s, is the focus of oncologist Weinberg's complex, absorbing tale. It picks up momentum with the 1976 discovery by Nobel Prize-winning San Francisco virologists Mike Bishop and Harold Varmus that the normal human cell contains a proto-oncogene, a gene that under certain conditions can be converted into a potent cancer-causing dynamo, or oncogene. Weinberg, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology biology professor, is a central character in his own narrative. His pioneering work at MIT, and that of rival research teams, led to the insight that the human genome carries several dozen proto-oncogenes, and that mutant oncogenes, damaged by viruses, chemical carcinogens, dietary input or other processes, can trigger cancer. Beginning in 1986, scientists isolated tumor-suppressor genes, which counteract the renegade cell growth caused by oncogenes, and it is now believed that damage to both halves of the cell's "mind" conspires to create cancer. Weinberg surveys research avenues that may help predict cancer's occurrence and the efficacy of chemotherapy.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book puts to rest the debate of whether basic science should receive as much priority as clinical science. Himself one of the most prominent figures in cancer research, Weinberg writes with captivating (and often amusing) narrative power how a very simple basic curiosity - how do we build a cancer cell from scratch? - has led to revolutionary views of cancer. Peter Gorner, the Tribune writer, once wrote "Science would like you to think that it marches steadily forward in white-coated splendor, but the truth is more mundane - fits and starts are the usual rhythms, with flashes of insight wasted by years of wrong-headedness...". In that sense, Weinberg captures successfully the frustration and maddening uncertainty every scientist has to endure to test their hypotheses as well as the jubilation and excitement that come when pleasant accidents occur, leading to the ultimate breakthroughs. More importantly, Weinberg highlights the critical intellectual input from scientists who cares more about the basic biological processes than curing diseases. These results from the basic scientific research have, unexpectedly, solved many central questions in cancer biology and AIDS. Many stories presented in the book thus challenge the currently prevailing wisdom of "disease-directed" scientific research. If you want to know how science operates in reality, this is THE book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
A true scientist turns spell-binding author as he unfolds the fascinating mystery of cancer and the blow by blow drama of the pursuit of its secrets. This is a page turner as much any novel you can find. Why? Because truth is stranger than fiction and a lot more relevant--if half of American males will have cancer before they die, and if 1,500 people are already dying every day in America from this mysterious enemy. If you are concerned about cancer, or you think one of your friends or children could do battle in this area, then this is the book for you and for them.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By maarsenault@earthlink.net on April 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
This was a wonderfully written book. I know nothing of science, and was mesmerized by the writing and the information imparted. Weinberg writes like a novelist, but has the impeccable scientific background to convey how important basic research was to the discovery of how cancer occurred on the molecular level. It gave me a great appreciation for research, and hope for the future of cancer treatment.
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