Oct. 13, 2019, letters

Oct. 13, 2019, letters


Expected more from Mukherjee

I have read the excellent biography of cancer by Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee. At his presentation in Rapid City, I expected his insightful summary of what went wrong with cancer research/treatments, how will we make significant improvements in the short term, and how we need to rethink approaches for finding a future cancer cure. I was disappointed. His talk focused on the use of artificial intelligence/deep learning in combination with genomic editing via CRISPR and the political/social issues associated with these approaches.

The four questions he answered were selected from those submitted earlier by members of the local medical community. Here are example issues he might have addressed: 1) Why is oncology continuing to use non-sensitive and non-selective imagery techniques for the identification/confirmation of cancers rather than advanced analytical techniques? 2) Why is chemotherapy still employing treatments using platinum and plant alkaloid poisons? 3) Why have survival statistics for patients with small cell cancers remained dismal during the past 40 years? 4) Is cancer too complex for a CRISPR cure that can only edit a few genes? 5) How does AI deep learning handle uncertainties in the data sets and in its predictions?

Unfortunately, I was not uplifted by the presentation.

Sherry Farwell

Black Hawk

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