Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Worth More Than Money"

An interview with Dr. Brian J. Drucker, an oncologist who recently received the "American Nobel Prize" for his work with cancer treatments, appeared in today's New York Times "Science Times."

Dr. Drucker's work concerns using new kinds of cancer drugs that "turn off" the genetic switch that controls cell growth. He discovered that the drug Gleevec could be used to treat people with chronic myeloid leukemia (C.M.L.).

The results of the Gleevec clinical trial were miraculous-- it was successful in 100% of the cases. "These once-dying patients were getting out of bed, dancing, going hiking, doing yoga. The drug was amazing," according to Dr. Drucker.

You might think that Dr. Drucker became wealthy as a result of his work. Not so. He had a choice between using an already-patented version of Gleevec or developing his own version. He chose the former, even though he didn't make a penny off it, because it was the quickest way to get treatment for his C.M.L. patients.

Drucker said of his choice, "You know, my patients were people who'd been told to 'get their affairs in order' because they were going to die soon. And now some of them play with grandchildren they'd thought they'd never live to see. That's worth more than money."

What an inspiring story! It's so good to know there are people in our world who put the welfare and health of others over enriching themselves. Thank you, Dr. Drucker!

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