The Philadelphia Story

Jessica Wapner speaking at Fox Chase Cancer Center | © Fox Chase Cancer Center

Last Tuesday, May 14, to celebrate the launch of her new book The Philadelphia Chromosome, Jessica Wapner spoke at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, the location of the discovery of the Philadelphia chromosome, and the setting of the opening chapter of her book (which you can read here on Scientific American).

The talk was part of the Center’s Cancer Conversation series, and drew a wide crowd, from relatives of David Hungerford and Peter Nowell—the discoverers of the Philadelphia chromosome—to a group of high school girls who received extra credit from their teacher for attending the event. Jessica read from the opening of the book, introducing the audience to chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patient Gary Eichner, before discussing the fascinating series of discoveries detailed in the book.

The microscope used to discover the Philadelphia chromosome | © Fox Chase Cancer Center

In 1959, the Philadelphia chromosome was discovered under a Fox Chase Cancer Center microscope, which was on display at the event. The discovery of the abnormal chromosome sparked a series of research breakthroughs that culminated 40 years later in a drug, Gleevec, that tackles CML at the genetic level.

Jessica Wapner is currently touring the country talking about the book (you can see full list of dates here) and will speak at Harvard Bookstore tonight. After Boston, she will be visiting Free Library in Philadelphia, Powell’s in Portland (where Jessica will appear with Dr. Druker, a key figure in the book), and Town Hall Seattle (where Jessica will interview Hans Loland, a CML patient featured in the book). To preview Jessica’s talk, a full video of the event at Fox Chase Cancer Center can be found below.

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