• Kirk Hartley

Reasons to Invest in Science – So Many Blood Cancers, and New Hope from Great New Science &#82

(The picture above shows one of two halls used for poster sessions at ASH 2013. The picture is courtesy of Pieter Droppert, who writes about science for investors.)

So many types of blood cancers – the broad classes are myelomas, lymphomas and leukemias.

So many annual blood cancers. The numbers below are provided by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and address only the US; the global toll is perhaps incalculable, and almost unspeakable.

  1. Approximately every 4 minutes one person in the US  is diagnosed with a blood cancer

  2.  An estimated combined total of 149,990 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2013.

  3. New cases of leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma are expected to account for 9.0 percent of the estimated 1,660,290 new cancer cases diagnosed in the US in 2013.

The numbers tell terrible stories. Indeed, the enormity of blood cancers is difficult to overstate.  In contrast, for example, asbestos lawyers typically worry about 2,500 – 3,000 mesotheliomas per year.

The good news is scientific progress. Today, far more than in the past, there is a tremendous amount of great new science offering real hope and major life extensions, and some may even be called cures. The picture above shows one of two poster presentation halls at ASH 2013, the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology. The posters are dense with the questions tested, graphs and charts report outcomes observed, and conclusion sections that outline findings, new questions and next steps.

Investing in science is critical. The doctors and researchers of ASH know too well that they are collectively part of tens of thousands of annual races between life and death for victims of blood cancers. Trial lawyers think verdicts are tough. Imagine being a doctor who almost every day must deliver awful news, and see and feel cancer killing human beings. Or, worse yet, imagine being told a blood cancer is present in your bone marrow and blood, or that your child has a blood cancer. Imagine if chemotherapy does not work, and the doctor tells you the options are limited to death or going through the near death experience known as a stem cell transplant (which means the use of chemotherapy to the point the immune system is essentially destroyed and then rebuilt over many months with stored or donated blood stem cells.) Imagine the pain of bone marrow virtually exploding because of rampant cell proliferation in the marrow.

Imagine all that pressure, pain and death. Then, write a check to invest in blood cancer research. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is one great choice. Other ways to invest include taking the time to speak out against cuts to budgets for basic research into biologic systems in general and the specific biologic systems that drive cancers.


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