Dec 18 2017

Jet Lag

by at 3:24 pm under Uncategorized

(December 17, 2017) — Greetings on Sunday night. I am reasonably content because the Eagles edged the woeful Giants to clinch a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs, though they no longer appear capable of a deep run in the playoffs.

I also am jet lagged. This is not an opinion – it is evidence-based. I was in Switzerland for a meeting that was held on Friday. I flew out late Wednesday, arrived Thursday at about noon, grabbed a couple of hours of sleep, had to attend a dinner, and then had to work all day Friday. I flew back on Saturday, getting home at about 4 pm. I technically got enough sleep while I was away, but as I write this blog at 6 pm, my body is screaming that it is past midnight.

The week started on Monday with my usual range of meetings, punctuated by a trip out to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. Tuesday was highlighted by a really interesting all-day retreat of the Molecular Oncology program, which was organized by Jeff Toretsky and orchestrated by Rabin Roy. By the way, congratulations to Jeff on his election as a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors!

I had to step out in the middle of the day, because Coach Patrick Ewing and two of his players stopped by the Ground Bles chemotherapy infusion area to join me in visiting with patients. The coach and his players were delighted to visit, and I believe we may have started a new tradition (photo!). Now, as you know, I am pretty tall, and have not been the shortest man in a crowded room for a very long time, but one of the patients we visited is 6”7”, and here I was in his room, dwarfed by him, the Coach and his two players as well.

Coach Ewing sure is tall – this is an evidence-based observation that is not subject to outside interpretation. Here’s another bit of fact-based evidence: over the past 300 years, the quest to advance knowledge to illuminate the truth has created miracles. It will continue to do so; nothing – and nobody – can stop us as long as we persist in our shared mission. As we all know from our own work, the road to truth is not linear – some research findings are rendered obsolete or inaccurate as new findings emerge. We always question the present, and we should as we search for deeper meanings and better understandings. But we must question established truth with a reverence for facts that form the basis of transformative discovery. The arc of history towards the truth is certain if not always steady, and the results speak for themselves in the miracles of scientific advances, the prevention and cure of human diseases and the lengthening of the human lifespan.

This is my last blog for 2017. It has been a privilege to share my thoughts with you this past year. As we head into 2018 I wish you holidays filled with peace, joy and happiness. And that’s the truth.

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