Rosenberg, a surgeon and bench research scientist, has an epiphany fairly early in his clinical career: a patient with widespread cancer determined to be terminal, returns to the clinic sometime later, apparently disease-free without medical treatment. The scientist wonders if this patient's body could have tapped into some immunological or genetic healing pool. After having formulated the question, the author takes the reader through the trials and tribulations of framing, trying, failing, retrying and failing again to determine a way to test and prove how this phenomenon could have happened.

Over the many years of experimental work in the laboratory and on the wards of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Rosenberg presents in a fashion largely accessible to the lay public a glimpse into this process. The work covers nearly three decades of the author's struggle to better understand and to develop new treatments for malignancies.


For the most part, this work is not difficult to follow in terms of its science. There is an extensive and useful glossary for those terms that are not a part of everyone's daily lexicon. There are moments in the work when the arrogance of the profession and the obsessions of its pioneers become a bit overwhelming; however, the glimpses into the dark nights of the researchers' labors tend to soften some of these sharp edges. For the layman or woman with an interest in the interior of medical research, this book will enlighten and perhaps satisfy the need to know how it all happens; for the individual interested in the history of medicine, this documents an important fragment in the enormous puzzle of the human immune system and its genetics.


G. P. Putnam's Sons

Place Published

New York



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