When Dennis Slamon and Michael Press met on their first day of medical school at the University of Chicago in September 1970, they had no reason whatsoever to believe that their chance encounter would lead to a significant scientific advance. As it turned out, however, their friendship eventually led to a joint research effort that may provide a valuable genetic-based prognostic tool for breast and ovarian cancers.

Thinking back to the day they met, Press recalls, "I was moving into the dormitory when I noticed this rather large person"--Slamon is six-foot-three--"struggling with an even larger foot locker. I asked him if he would like a hand toting the trunk. He said `yes,' and we've been friends ever since."

That friendship, forged through several rigorous years pursuing a combined-degree curriculum (both men hold M.D. and Ph.D. degrees), became the basis for their professional partnership. In 1985, after years of musing...

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