The timing of the award of the 2018 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine to Jim Allison and Tasuko Honjo (captured on the last episode of the Novel Targets Podcast), certainly seems to have acted as a catalyst for the publication of several books about the field.
There are a variety of ways to approach the cancer immunotherapy story, ranging from the personal portraits of researchers behind the science to narrative storytelling based on the “Hero’s journey” where the intrepid hero embarks on a quest, overcomes challenges or tests along the way and then finally emerges triumphant. One could certainly fit Jim Allison’s life and accomplishments into that mold.
We don’t normally review books on BSB, but were very curious to see how immunologists themselves would approach their specialist area and tell the cancer immunotherapy story. After all, everyone views the world through the lens of their own experiences and the bias that creates.
L’Immunothérapie des cancers, histoire d’une revolution médicale’ offers the reader a journey through the history of science.
Marc Daëron is a researcher at INSERM, the Institut Pasteur in Paris and Centre d’Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML). He’s also an associate member of the Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology.
BSB readers are already familiar with Éric Vivier (Twitter @EricVivier1) who is a Professor of Immunology at the University of Aix-Marseille and was previously Director of CIML.
An expert on innate lymphoid cells, natural killer cells and innate immunity, he’s also a co-founder of Innate Pharma and is currently the company’s Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).
If you want to hear them in person, the authors discussed their book on a recent France Inter talk show, which also includes a couple of patients doing well on immunotherapy phoning in.
Assuming you have a reasonable level of French, is L’Immunothérapie des cancers, histoire d’une revolution médicale well worth a read? Who is the audience? What did we make of the approach taken by two eminent immunologists?