English-American author and journalist Christopher Hitchens died today from cancer of the esophagus. He was diagnosed with this tumor about 17 months ago.
What did Christopher Hitchens and Steve Jobs have in common?
Both men used DNA to try to discover and treat the gene mutations that were driving their cancers.
Jobs had his DNA analyzed twice, once when his tumor was first discovered in 2004 and again in 2009 after the cancer had come back. Mr. Hitchens had his tumor DNA “decoded” after NIH Director and evangelical christian Dr. Francis Collins suggested that this experimental diagnostic procedure might benefit him. Hitchens treatment was altered as a result.
This morning the New York Times published an article by Gina Kolata entitled “In Treatment for Leukemia, Glimpses of the Future” in which she describes the use of advanced DNA tests (medical genomics) for precision diagnosis and personalized therapy for cancer. In her story about Dr. Lukas Wartman and his leukemia (AML) treated by Dr. Timothy Ley, Kolata also mentions the DNA-guided treatments of Christopher Hitchens and Steve Jobs which we have covered extensively.
See these related stories about the new company, Genome Health Solutions, whose mission is to deliver new approaches to fighting cancer and other diseases: