On STF62247, von Hippel-Lindau and friends with cancer

This morning, after I dropped Taylor off at ballet class, I had to stop and listen to an NPR story, even though it meant I would suffer a few extra sweaty moments in the already 95 degree Phoenix morning. I had to listen because, as news often does, the story evoked both hope and grief.

Stanford University researchers seem to have discovered a treatment for renal cell carcinoma. It turns out that these particular cancer cells can be tricked into consuming themselves, thus reducing the need for systemic chemotherapy or radiation which wreaks toxic havoc in body parts that have no real connection to the source of the cancer. What joy! Think of all the people you know with cancer and imagine the possibilities. Exponential hope!

Still, there is a fringe of heartache that wraps around the edges of this great hope. Where were you, Stanford researchers for all those whose bodies have already succumbed to the breakneck devouring of healthy cells? More specifically, where were you three years ago when my friend Marcia got sick? Why do these things always seem to be too many days late and too many dollars short?

Even as I put these questions on the page, I realize that I can’t and most days don’t live in the land of “if only” and “what if” and “why.” I really do get it that there’s tremendously good news here. It’s just that I wish these dedicated doctors had just finished their work a wee bit sooner.

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