The most powerful endorphin to relieve your pain. From Columbia, Missouri


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You will never succeed

とあるメーリングリストで紹介されていたOHSUでの卒業式でのスピーチ。
とても勇気づけられます。
http://blog.oregonlive.com/oregonianextra/2007/06/dr_brian_drukers_ohsu_commence.html



Brian J. Druker, MD
JELD-WEN Chair of Leukemia Research
Director of the OHSU Cancer Institute Leukemia Center
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Elected to National Academy of Sciences
Elected to Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

You don't have a future. You're not going to succeed. I hope you never pursue a career in science.
Those are just a few of the words of encouragement I've heard in my career.

At the time, the words stung. They caused me to doubt myself, but they were not fatal. And strangely, I now look on them as gifts. They helped shape who I am today. Those low expectations made me more determined. Now, I'm not going to thank those people who dismissed me and I'm certainly not going to dedicate this speech to them. But they helped me define my goals and who I am.

This is an exciting time for you. You have persevered and made it to graduation. You have made your teachers and families proud. But along the way, someone will doubt you. Maybe they already have. What matters is that you listen to your inner voice that tells you anything is possible.

Fifteen years ago I was a young scientist at a critical juncture in my career looking for my first faculty appointment. At the time, I was at Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute where I had completed my training in Oncology and had spent seven years working in the lab developing my skills as a scientist. I had shown some promise by developing one of the most widely used tools to study the regulation of cell growth. I was making significant strides in leukemia research and had published numerous papers, mostly as a collaborator. I was feeling pretty good about my work. So I met with the man running Dana-Farber to ask for some lab space and a promotion. He sat behind his desk, thumbing through my papers. He told me I didn't have enough independently- authored papers and that I didn't have a future at Dana-Farber. But I had a back up. I had been negotiating with the Chief of Medicine across the street at Beth Israel Hospital. When I went back to close the deal, I was told the job had been given to someone else with more promise.

I was devastated. Two of the most prominent leaders in the medical field had told me I was not worth the investment. But as I look back, this was a turning point. It was like someone knocked me in the head. I had gone into cancer research to find a better way to treat cancer. I was tired of giving chemotherapy and often making my patients sicker rather than better. And I had promised my patients I would go into the lab until I found a better way to treat cancer. Had I stayed at Dana-Farber, I would have had a cushy job at a prestigious institution. I would have played it safe.

But these events awakened and invigorated my desire to make a difference. It was an opportune time. I believed targeted therapies were the future. We were discovering what drives the growth of cancer cells. I believed as we gathered more information about our cells and how they malfunctioned we could develop drugs that act as cruise missiles, destroying the cancer but leaving healthily cells alone.

Those setbacks gave me focus. I just needed lab space and a fresh start. I accepted a job at OHSU and moved to Oregon. I had one goal. I wanted to find a drug that worked in my disease models and get that drug into the clinic for my patients. I was fortunate to find a boss like Grover Bagby. He said recently, "Sometimes the best thing you can do for a researcher is to give them an opportunity and leave them alone." And he did just that for me.

Within six weeks of arriving in Oregon I started working with compounds, one of which killed leukemia cells without harming normal cells. I had exactly what I had been looking for. This compound would later become the drug Gleevec. It's now considered a revolutionary cancer treatment but at the time the drug company didn't think it was worth the investment. They thought the drug wouldn't work, would be too toxic, and would never make enough money to warrant the investment in its development. Nor were they willing to take a chance on an unheard of investigator from Oregon. It was a five-year crusade to get this drug to patients.

And though I had felt abandoned by some people I once respected, there was one group of people who never doubted me; my patients.

I'm always amazed at how patients believe in you, even when you're just starting out. Even when you're just out of medical school, pretending to be a doctor, but deep inside you don't feel like one.

Bud Romine was one of those patients who believed in me. Bud was a newly retired railroad engineer. Four years earlier he had been diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, or CML, the disease I was working on. He was 65 and had few options. He had tried interferon, but it didn't work and left him with little energy. He was too old for a transplant. His wife of 42 years, Yvonne, a retired bank clerk, kept a meticulous folder filled with charts of his blood counts. The lines fluctuated dramatically from 15,000 to 150,000. She drew another line at 10,000 for the top of the normal range, something Bud hadn't seen in over three years. But for Bud the numbers didn't mean much. He only knew that he didn't have any energy to play golf and he often felt too weak to get out of bed.

Bud read the story in the newspaper about our laboratory studies. He contacted me immediately and put his life in my hands. The average life expectancy for a CML patient was five years and Bud's time was running out. But Bud put his faith in me and trusted that I would be able to help him.

That faith bolsters you. It emboldened me to take on the biggest drug company in the world and get this drug to them.

We had tested the drug in the lab and were pretty sure it was safe. But until you give it to patients, you don't really know. Bud was incredibly courageous. He stepped forward and wanted to be the first patient to be given the drug. Within three weeks on Gleevec, his counts returned to normal. But again the numbers didn't give the real picture. For Bud, it meant he could play golf and spend his winters in California.

Now, nine years later, this previously fatal leukemia has a 95% five-year survival.

Let me put five years in a different perspective.

LaDonna, a retired dietician from SW Washington, came to my clinic seven years ago. She could barely walk because her spleen, normally the size of a fist, had swelled to the size of a football. Her spleen compressed her stomach so that she couldn't hold down any food. She was losing 2 to 3 pounds a day. She had only weeks left when she came to see me. LaDonna had bought a burial plot and picked out the music for her funeral. Within a week on Gleevec, she was able to walk again. Her spleen shrunk and after a month her blood counts had returned to normal.

I have a picture of LaDonna from five years ago where she is playing with her grandchildren, age 16, 13 and a three year old she wasn't supposed to meet, named Will, because he was her will to live. She recently gave me a new picture. It was from her eldest grandchild's wedding, now 21. Her 13 year old is now 18 and has graduated from high school and her 3 year old is now 8 and just completed 3rd grade.

I owe the greatest debt to my patients who have put their faith in me as we have gone on this journey to find better cancer treatments. I have learned the importance of listening to your patients. Some of best lessons come from them. And perhaps the greatest lesson they have taught me is this; the greatest gift in life is hope.

We are at an important juncture in medicine. We are so close to eradicating many fatal diseases, such as cancer, or at least turning them into manageable, chronic conditions. I have stood on the shoulders of researchers who laid out the path for me. Some of you will continue that work. Some of you will help us reach the goal of curing cancer or other diseases. But all of you will bring hope to your patients through the work you do.

I want to leave you with one last parting gift.

You will never succeed.

I can't wait to see how you prove me wrong.
[PR]
by beta-endorphin | 2008-06-09 02:32 | english expression