More than 50,000 North Americans die of cancer every year. Yet while
billions of dollars have been spent on research over the course of forty
years, we still have no effective treatments for the vast majority of advanced
malignancies. Why are we loosing the war on cancer? In his new book, The
Immortal Cell; Why Cancer Research Fails, Dr. Gerald B. Dermer,
a dedicated cancer researcher, provides a clear, accurate, and startling
account of perhaps the biggest blunder in the history of science and medicine.
Scientists depend on cells growing in petri dishes in their laboratories
to give them information on human diseases. These petri dish cells, called
cell lines, serve as models for human cancer cells. Cell lines are cultures
of cells that are derived from tumors or normal tissue. But unlike any
real tissue, normal or cancerous, these cells are immortal - they can grow
forever on the bottoms of petri dishes. And it is these manmade creations
that have become the favorite cancer model in the majority of research
laboratories throughout the world. But what if these immortal cells have
been providing misleading - or, worse, completely incorrect - information,
heading scientists in the wrong direction?
The Immortal Cell tells an alarming story of unsound science,
and the pressures that lead scientists to do unsound work. It carefully
details how researchers have squandered time, money, and lives in pursuing
an enemy of their own making. It lets you in on what is really going on
in the war against cancer.
Dr. Gerald B. Dermer received his B.A. in biophysics, M.A. in genetics,
and Ph.D. in cell biology from the University of California at Los Angeles.
After two years of post-docteral research in biochemistry at the University
of Lund in Sweden, Dr. Dermer returned to Los Angeles and the Pathology
Department of the Hospital of the Good Samaritan. There he began his research
on human cancer, joining the faculty of the University of Southern California
School of Medicine.
After twelve successful years in clinical and basic research, Dr.
Dermer moved to the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, where
he continued laboratory research for three more years. For the past ten
years, Dr. Dermer has pursued his interests in cancer, pathology, and biotechnology
as an independent consultant and writer.