More than 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with a type of cancer this year, but technological advances have opened up never-before-dreamed-of possibilities for cancer diagnoses and treatment. These advances drive the research of two Davidson alumni, whose work with The Cancer Genome Atlas and T-cell immunotherapy has made headlines and, more importantly, moved their respective fields forward in the fight against these devastating diseases.
David "Neil" Hayes '91 and Reiner Brentjens '89 overlapped two years at Davidson in the late 1980's but unfortunately didn't know each other. Today they are oncologists at top cancer research centers pursuing cures on the latest frontiers of medicine.
"There are colleagues of mine who have devoted their entire lives to this work and not been as fortunate as I have," he [Brentjens] says. "Taking something you created in the lab on the bench top and testing this in poor prognosis patients—and it took a while—and seeing there are people still alive because you did what you did—I would be lying if I didn't say it was a great feeling."