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Siddhartha Mukherjee The Track of the Cell ebook overview

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Most cancers (2010) that fetched him a Pulitzer, examined most cancers with a “mobile biologist’s precision”, capturing the hunt for a remedy, whereas The Gene: An Intimate Historical past (2016) took his household historical past to inform the story of what he calls “the beginning, development, and way forward for some of the highly effective and harmful concepts within the historical past of science”.

New York-based oncologist, researcher, and creator Siddhartha Mukherjee’s newest work of nonfiction, The Track of the Cell: An Exploration of Medication and the New Humantakes off from the research of the elemental unit of life — the cell — and leads the reader by way of the integral position it performs in medical science.

A chronicle of the invention that every one organisms are manufactured from elementary particles, it is a story, Dr Mukherjee says, of the best way cells “allow profound types of physiology: immunity, copy, sentience, cognition, restore, and rejuvenation”, and likewise of what occurs when cells change into dysfunctional, “tipping our our bodies from mobile physiology into mobile pathology”.

“A hip fracture, a cardiac arrest, Alzheimer’s, dementia, AIDS, pneumonia, lung most cancers, kidney failure, arthritis, COVID — all might be seen because the outcomes of cells, or programs of cells, functioning abnormally,” Dr Mukherjee writes. “And all might be perceived as loci of mobile therapies,” he says.

The invention of cells—and the reframing of the human physique as a mobile ecosystem—introduced the beginning of a brand new sort of medication based mostly on the therapeutic manipulations of cells. The ‘New Human’ within the title of his ebook will not be then, a creature of science fiction, “a Keanu Reeves in a black muumuu however…a human being rebuilt anew with modified cells who appears and feels (principally) such as you and me .”

Dr Mukherjee, additionally an assistant professor of medication at Columbia College who has demystified and humanized public discourse on medication and well being together with his luminous writing, exhibits how cells are being repurposed as instruments to combat sickness. He exhibits each the attain of mobile manipulation and likewise its limitations, illustrated by the tales of Sam P, a sportswriter who fell to his melanoma, and Emily Whitehead, a younger woman who made a exceptional restoration — “two new people, examples of mobile manipulation and reengineering”.

Just like the creator’s earlier works that led us by way of the previous, current, and future, the place the now flowed from a then, the place private tales intersected with scientific ones, The Track of the Cell is lit with a variety of references. Not simply scientists, however philosophers and poets too discover point out as historical concepts funnel into trendy debates.

Questions of what we’re manufactured from and the place we come from occupied philosophers from Aristotle to the thirteenth century German friar Albertus Magnus. From the seventeenth century Dutch fabric service provider Antonie van Leeuwenhoek who educated a microscope that he used to look at textile fibers on a droplet of water, to English polymath Robert Hooke who noticed “little bins” when he put a skinny slice of cork below a microscope, to Prussian doctor Rudolf Virchow who confirmed that cells divide and beget new cells, The Track of the Cell chronicles the evolving research of cells.

Divided into six components, the ebook eschews a chronological order to inform its story — as Dr Mukherjee says, “the construction is mobile, if you’ll”.

The medical mysteries of Covid-19 sit on the middle of this ebook, as a result of, writes Dr Mukherjee, cell biology sits on the middle of medical mysteries. The ebook explores the interplay of SARS-CoV-2 with our cells that enabled the virus to unleash the worldwide pandemic, and appears into analysis that factors to the doable causes that some folks contracted extreme illness whereas others did not.

Even together with his deep information of the immune system (Dr Mukherjee has been engaged on immunological cures for cancers), SARS-CoV-2 caught him and different scientists unexpectedly.

“Within the early winter of 2020, earlier than our self-assuredness was upended, it appeared as if the immune system, of all of the complicated mobile programs within the physique, was the one we understood one of the best…After which, biblically, we tumbled, he writes. “The pandemic calls for autopsies of many sorts, however an post-mortem of our information about cell biology can be mandatory.”

The developments and the failures, the previous and the longer term, The Track of the Cell seize all of them. And, if that is the Age of the Cell, then there may be maybe nobody higher than Siddhartha Mukherjee to stroll us by way of it.

Title | The Track of the Cell: An Exploration of Medication and the New Human
Writer: Siddhartha Mukherjee
Writer: Penguin Allen Lane
Pages: 576
Worth: Rs 799

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