The diagnosis of cancer is one usually met with utter dread. At the same time, science is moving quickly to identify, differentiate, and treat tumors – which ones will metastasize, which ones will respond to particular treatments, and which ones are likely to remain harmless in people who die of old age.
Those efforts are the focus of this special feature in The Scientist. On the next several pages, you'll hear from Yale professor of pharmacology and biotech company founder Joseph Schlessinger. Schlessinger recounts the 25 years of his and his colleagues' work to discover and develop SU11248, a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor being used in clinical trials to treat patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors and chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Our Hot Papers are two studies that described gene expression profiles and molecular signatures of lung adenocarcinoma and other solid tumors. Next, Arul Chinnaiyan, a professor of pathology at the University of Michigan, writes about OncoMine, a database that he designed to help cancer biologists integrate and analyze the cancer transcriptome. Last in this section is the story of how tissue microarrays have grown in use and where they are likely to go next.
Finally, on the back page of the magazine, don't miss our Reverse Transcript profile of Bert Vogelstein and Ken Kinzler, whose light-hearted approach to scientific inquiry is matched only by their intense dedication to patients with cancer and their incredible productivity. With some humility, Vogelstein wonders whether the work in their lab "will ever result in real advances for patients." We certainly hope so.