Episode 19: The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer with NY Times bestselling author Charles Graeber

And we’re back – and switching gears – my guest today is CHARLES GRAEBER,  an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of The Breakthrough: Immnuotherapy and the race to cure cancer, and “The Good nurse”.  His work has been included in collections including The Best American Science Writing, The Best American Crime Reporting ,The Best American Business Writing, The Best of 10 Years of National Geographic Adventure, The Best of 20 years of WIRED, and The Best American Magazine Writing as selected by the American Society of Magazine Editors and The Columbia Journalism School, and garnered honors including an Alfred P. Sloan fellowship and an Overseas Press Club’s Ed Cunningham Award for outstanding international journalism.

Charles and I talk about a different place in the intersection of cancer and life – immunotherapy – a place of both incredible medical advancements and future unknowns, as this innovative approach has gained presence within the world of cancer research. His book, the Breakthrough, serves as an approachable yet informative manual for anyone navigating a cancer diagnosis, as a critical tool in the understanding of potential treatments outside of the traditional trio of chemo, radiation, and surgery. Charles and I discuss the scientific mechanisms of immunotherapy, as well as the setbacks and limitations of developing immunology-based cancer treatments. In addition, we discuss the limitations of clinical trials: that we need doctors to be more willing to explore trials earlier in treatment, patients need to be willing and receptive to try trials, and trial sponsors need to be more nuanced in their approach to the needs of patients in order to recruit trial participants, create the tools for treatment adherence, and expand their criteria for inclusion in trials, particularly for patients with brain metastases.

Find Charles online:




The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer

The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder