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Scope 47 - From the Director

20 April 2012

Cancer has been a plague on our society since the dawn of recorded history. 

Since the first description of breast cancer and its treatment in ancient Egypt, scientists and clinicians have been working on a cure for this complex family of diseases – albeit with limited success.

Despite revolutionary advances in medicine and its practice over the past two centuries, cancer treatment has gone through a comparatively slow process of development. To some extent the belief that cancer cannot be cured persists even today. 

Although the one-hit cancer cure remains elusive, over recent years several promising drugs have come to the market that extend the lives of cancer patients, such as Herceptin (breast cancer), Glivvec (chronic myeloid leukaemia), and the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge. 

Every great success story starts with a single idea and in this issue of Scope we describe three different strategies being developed at the Malaghan Institute for treating cancer. Only time will tell if they make it through the years of rigorous testing to become mainstream therapies used in the clinic, but that is the nature of basic research, and it is a journey we are all committed to seeing through to the end.

Prof Graham Le Gros

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