A complex medical treatise that may be opaque for casual readers.


Terminate Cancer


A molecular scientist specializing in immunology, molecular biology, genetics, and cancer research advances a theory of cancer treatment based on induced immune response.

Debut author Figueiredo, a Ph.D. but not a medical doctor, uses the language of medicine to explain why immunology offers the best promise for attacking cancers, with the least collateral damage. This presentation, first published digitally in 2014, seems too short to be considered a book, and more closely fits the definition of an essay or opinion piece. It’s heavily laden with biomedical terms, and readers will need to have some grasp of antigens, leukocytes, androgen, peptides, macrophages, chemokines, and relaxin—among other terms—in order to follow the author’s description of how super-hardy tumor cells grow and spread by deceiving and perverting the immune system. However, cancer doctors and researchers—who, along with their patients, seem to be the author’s intended audience—will have less difficulty. Figueiredo includes a brief glossary to help the less informed, but that still may be heavy going for some. He helps them further, however, with interjections of everyday language; chemotherapy, he says in one example, “may be akin to attempting to destroy an ant with a grenade.” His own macro-environmental, nonspecific prescription begins with healthy living for prevention. But the key to treatment, he says, will be finding and injecting cancer-specific antigens that act as vaccines in order to promote an immune-system attack on tumors. This immunologically based, selective targeting will be “somewhat analogous as to how the immune system attacks virus-infected cells.” As an added benefit, he says, it will spare patients the ravages of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The author ends with a plea for the public “to lobby for funding for those labs that research cancer immunology.” Evaluating the efficacy of this proposed treatment method is the purview of cancer doctors and researchers; nonprofessionals can only wonder if Figueiredo may be on to something.

A complex medical treatise that may be opaque for casual readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-5148-4323-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.


A study of swimming as sport, survival method, basis for community, and route to physical and mental well-being.

For Bay Area writer Tsui (American Chinatown: A People's History of Five Neighborhoods, 2009), swimming is in her blood. As she recounts, her parents met in a Hong Kong swimming pool, and she often visited the beach as a child and competed on a swim team in high school. Midway through the engaging narrative, the author explains how she rejoined the team at age 40, just as her 6-year-old was signing up for the first time. Chronicling her interviews with scientists and swimmers alike, Tsui notes the many health benefits of swimming, some of which are mental. Swimmers often achieve the “flow” state and get their best ideas while in the water. Her travels took her from the California coast, where she dove for abalone and swam from Alcatraz back to San Francisco, to Tokyo, where she heard about the “samurai swimming” martial arts tradition. In Iceland, she met Guðlaugur Friðþórsson, a local celebrity who, in 1984, survived six hours in a winter sea after his fishing vessel capsized, earning him the nickname “the human seal.” Although humans are generally adapted to life on land, the author discovered that some have extra advantages in the water. The Bajau people of Indonesia, for instance, can do 10-minute free dives while hunting because their spleens are 50% larger than average. For most, though, it’s simply a matter of practice. Tsui discussed swimming with Dara Torres, who became the oldest Olympic swimmer at age 41, and swam with Kim Chambers, one of the few people to complete the daunting Oceans Seven marathon swim challenge. Drawing on personal experience, history, biology, and social science, the author conveys the appeal of “an unflinching giving-over to an element” and makes a convincing case for broader access to swimming education (372,000 people still drown annually).

An absorbing, wide-ranging story of humans’ relationship with the water.

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-61620-786-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Algonquin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet