Almost daily, headlines announce newly discovered links between cancers and their genetic causes. Science journalist Jessica Wapner vividly relates the backstory behind those headlines, reconstructing the crucial breakthroughs, explaining the science behind them, and giving due to the dozens of researchers, doctors, and patients whose curiosity and determination restored the promise of a future to the more than 50,000 people diagnosed each year with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML).
Genetic tests for cancer have come a long way since they first entered the clinic in 1995. Back then, mutations in two genes - known as BRCA1 and BRCA2 - hinted at the crucial role that genetics can play in treatment decisions. Women carrying one of those mutations (and having a family history of breast or ovarian cancer) were much more likely than the general population to develop tumors in their breasts or ovaries.