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Home » New Imaging Lights the Way for Brain Surgeons: Adam de la Zerda at TEDxStanford (Transcript)

New Imaging Lights the Way for Brain Surgeons: Adam de la Zerda at TEDxStanford (Transcript)

Adam de la Zerda – TRANSCRIPT

“We’re declaring war against cancer, and we will win this war by 2015.” This is what the US Congress and the National Cancer Institute declared just a few years ago, in 2003. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy that. I don’t think we quite won this war yet, and I don’t think anyone here will question that.

Now, I will argue that a primary reason why we’re not winning this war against cancer is because we’re fighting blindly. I’m going to start by sharing with you a story about a good friend of mine. His name is Ehud, and a few years ago, Ehud was diagnosed with brain cancer. And not just any type of brain cancer: he was diagnosed with one of the most deadly forms of brain cancer. In fact, it was so deadly that the doctors told him that they only have 12 months, and during those 12 months, they have to find a treatment. They have to find a cure, and if they cannot find a cure, he will die.

Now, the good news, they said, is that there are tons of different treatments to choose from, but the bad news is that in order for them to tell if a treatment is even working or not, well, that takes them about three months or so. So they cannot try that many things.

Well, Ehud is now going into his first treatment, and during that first treatment, just a few days into that treatment, I’m meeting with him, and he tells me, “Adam, I think this is working. I think we really lucked out here. Something is happening.”

And I ask him, “Really? How do you know that, Ehud?”

And he says, “Well, I feel so terrible inside. Something’s gotta be working up there. It just has to.”

Well, unfortunately, three months later, we got the news, it didn’t work. And so Ehud goes into his second treatment. And again, the same story. “It feels so bad, something’s gotta be working there.” And then three months later, again we get bad news. Ehud is going into his third treatment, and then his fourth treatment. And then, as predicted, Ehud dies.

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