Ethics Center’s Speaker Noted Author/Journalist Clifton Leaf on the Unfulfilled Promise of Discovering a Cure for Cancer

The first installment of the 2013-14 Exploring Ethics series, titled “Overthrowing the Emperor of All Maladies: Moving Forward Against Cancer,” will examine the study and treatment of cancer, one of the world’s most vexing medical challenges dating back to antiquity.

The first featured speaker is Clifton Leaf, author of the recently acclaimed book “The Truth in Small Doses: Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer — And How to Win It,” who will open the series on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm at The Scripps Research Institute’s Auditorium, located at 10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive, San Diego, CA 92121.

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Presented by the Center for Ethics in Science & Technology, in partnership with UC San Diego Extension, the lecture is open to the public at no charge.

The intriguing topic of his presentation, “Lessons from a One-Eyed Surgeon,” refers to a famed Irish surgeon and medical author named Denis Burkitt whose inspiring story Leaf recounts in his book.

Some 50 years ago, Dr. Burkitt brought together a team of cancer investigators to attempt to unravel the mystery of “African lymphoma,” a deadly condition that mostly afflicted young children in Uganda. Through their collective research, the team ultimately saved an untold number of lives throughout Africa and around the world.

Leaf, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 15, has written that given the enormous resources devoted to the cancer cause, estimated to be as much as $16 billion a year in the U.S. alone, we should be much closer to a permanent and sustainable cure than is currently the case.

In his view, the fight against cancer has become so entrenched that the ultimate goal of finding a cure has lost its urgency and efficiency.

His book, which evolved from his 2004 cover story on the same subject in Fortune magazine, delves into how best to more quickly expedite and fund anti-cancer efforts world-wide.

Currently a contributing editor of Fortune, Leaf received the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, is a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Award, and is widely known for his research and insight into fighting global cancer.

Leaf has been keynote speaker at more than 30 scientific conferences world-wide, as well as provided testimony to the President’s Cancer Panel three times, an exceptional distinction for a medical journalist.

Subsequent speakers and their subjects will be announced at a later date.

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About the Center for Ethics in Science & Technology: The Ethics Center has major funding and support from UC San Diego, as well as Grossmont College, Point Loma Nazarene University, SDSU, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the Legler Benbough Foundation. In addition, this cancer series is being supported by the UC San Diego Moore’s Cancer Center, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute and Sharp Healthcare.

About UC San Diego Extension: As the continuing education and public programs arm of the university, UC San Diego Extension educates approximately 63,000 enrollees a year, which translates to about 33,000 students in nearly 4,300 courses.  UC San Diego Extension is recognized nationally and internationally for linking the public to expert professionals and the knowledge resources of the University of California.

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