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edu180atl: tyler thigpen 1.9.2012

Today I learned that 2012 might be the year that scientists crack cancer. Notice I didn’t say cure cancer, not by a long shot.

During our morning announcements, I typically offer our high school students a roughly 250 word vignette on some topic related to our School’s mission of cultivating college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders. This morning I shared from a recent Economist issue in which staff writer Geoffrey Carr explores the reality of precisely how we will understand cancer in ways that will bring cures closer than ever before: “Cheap, rapid gene-sequencing technology,” he writes, “means that cancer genomes can now be processed on an industrial scale.” This, he explains, means that oncologists will be able to look carefully at hundreds of samples of cancerous tumors, comparing them with each other and with healthy tissue, so that they can make a little bit more sense of the incredibly confusing question of what causes cancer and the messed up DNA that most tumors have. “Turning what scientists learn into treatment will still take a while,” he concludes, but after this year “the size of the task should be a lot clearer.”

What exciting news.

In this case, as in many others, my learning sparked even more questions, like Exactly how ripe for the picking will a cancer solution become in 2012? And, equally as compelling for me personally, which one of our up-and-coming graduates might partake in the picking?

Tyler Thigpen (@tylerthigpen) is Head of Upper School at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, co-founder of Chattahoochee Hills Charter School, husband & father of 3.

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