More from Siddhartha Mukherjee

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More from Siddhartha Mukherjee's magnificent biography of cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies:

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"Even targeted therapy, then, was a cat-and-mouse game. One could direct endless arrows at the Achilles heel of cancer, but the disease might simply shift its foot, switching one vulnerability for another. We were locked in a perpetual battle with a volatile combatant … If the vigilance was dropped, even for a moment, then the weight of the battle would shift. In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, the Red Queen tells Alice that the world keeps shifting so quickly under her feet that she has to keep running just to keep her position. This is our predicament with cancer: we are forced to keep running merely to keep still."

By Ross Bonander

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