New Canaan Library’s inaugural Trustees Lecture is honored to present guest lecturer Dr. Azra Raza, a world-class oncologist, professor and author who, in her book The First Cell, examines the current state of cancer and its devastating impact on the individuals it affects — including herself. The event will take place on Sunday, January 26 from 4-5 p.m. in the Adrian Lamb Room. Please register to reserve a seat, online at newcanaanlibrary.org.
The war on cancer wages on. At least $150 billion is spent annually to treat it, yet — a few innovations notwithstanding — a patient with cancer is just as likely to die of it as one was fifty years ago. Most new drugs merely add months to one’s life at agonizing physical and financial cost. In The First Cell, Azra Raza offers a searing account of how both medicine and our society (mis)treats cancer, how we can do better, and why we must. A journey from hope to despair and back again, The First Cell explores cancer from every angle: medical, scientific, cultural, and personal, as Raza describes how she bore the terrible burden of being her husband’s oncologist as he succumbed to leukemia.
DR. AZRA RAZA is the Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of the MDS Center at Columbia University in New York. Previously, she was the Chief of Hematology-Oncology and the Gladys Smith Martin Professor of Oncology at the University of Massachusetts. She is considered an international authority on pre-leukemia (MDS) and acute leukemia and is one of those rare physician-scientists who divide their time equally between caring for patients and supervising a state-of-the-art basic research lab which is well-funded by multiple large grants. Dr. Raza started collecting blood and marrow samples on her patients in 1984 and now her Tissue Bank, the largest and oldest in the country with more than 60,000 samples, is considered a unique national treasure.
Dr. Raza has published her original clinical and basic research comprising over 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts in high profile journals such as New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Molecular Cell, Cancer Research, Blood, Leukemia. She has published more than 1000 abstracts, dozens of book chapters and edited a book devoted to MDS. She is a co-editor of 3quarksdaily, a website started by her brother Syed Abbas Raza. She is a sought-after speaker in scientific circles and the recipient of numerous awards including The Hope Award in Cancer Research 2012 (shared with the Nobel Laureate Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn).