Robin SchefflerJul 4, 2019
A Contagious Cause
The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine
University of Chicago Press 2019
Could cancer be a contagious disease? Although this possibility might seem surprising to many of us, it has a long history. In fact, efforts to develop a cancer vaccine drew more money than the Human Genome Project. In his first book, MIT historian of science Robin Wolfe Scheffler takes readers through the twists and turns of the American effort to identify human cancer viruses— a search which made fundamental contributions to molecular biology. In this podcast, we discuss how this was an effort which raises fundamental questions regarding how we think about disease in the laboratory and the legislature.
Dr. Robin Scheffler’s book is called A Contagious Cause: The American Hunt for Cancer Viruses and the Rise of Molecular Medicine (University of Chicago Press, 2019).
Dr. Dorian Deshauer is a psychiatrist, historian, and assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He is associate editor for the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Canada’s leading peer-reviewed general medical journal and is one of the hosts of CMAJ Podcasts, a medical podcast for doctors and researchers.