His Brother's Keeper: A Story from the Edge of Medicine

By Jonathan Weiner

From Jonathan Weiner, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Beak of the Finch, comes His Brother's Keeper -- the tale of a tender entrepreneur who gambles at the dicy technology of gene treatment to attempt to save lots of his brother's life.

Stephen Heywood was once twenty-nine years previous whilst he discovered that he used to be demise of ALS -- Lou Gehrig's ailment. nearly in a single day his older brother, Jamie, became himself right into a genetic engineer in a quixotic race to medication the incurable. His Brother's Keeper is a strong account in their tale, as they go back and forth jointly to the sting of medicine.

The ebook brings domestic for we all the hopes and fears of the recent biology. during this dramatic and suspenseful narrative, Jonathan Weiner offers us a awesome portrait of technology and medication this present day. We know about gene treatment, stem cells, mind vaccines, and different novel remedies for such nerve-death ailments as ALS, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's -- ailments that afflict hundreds of thousands, and contact the lives of many more.

It seems that the writer has a private stake within the tale to boot. whilst he met the Heywood brothers, his personal mom was once death of an extraordinary nerve-death affliction. The Heywoods' gene therapist provided to attempt to avoid wasting her, too.

"The Heywoods' tale taught me many stuff concerning the nature of therapeutic within the new millennium," Weiner writes. "They additionally taught me approximately what has now not replaced because the time of the ancients and should by no means swap so long as there are people -- approximately what Lucretius calls ‘the ever-living wound of love.'

"The Heywoods suggest the full tale to me now: an allegory from the sting of drugs. a narrative to make us ask ourselves questions that we have got to invite yet don't need to invite. How a lot of existence will we engineer? How a lot is allowed us?

"What may you do to avoid wasting your brother's life?"

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To win you would like all other forms of missions and platoons. We’re like psycho commandos doing rather wild stuff. lets fail. but when we hit, we’re going to hit gigantic. The medical professionals are extra conservative. ” “And they need to be,” acknowledged Jamie. “They’re enjoying for the lengthy haul. ” “We’re attempting to make it ensue speedy. ” “Make it occur quick for Stephen. ” “We’re a enterprise capital firm,” acknowledged Robert. “The version is precisely an analogous. yet rather than elevating funds to provide away to scientists, we’re elevating cash to aim to treatment ALS ourselves. It’s so basic. ” I doubted that “it’s so easy” yet allow it cross. Jamie was once giving me his sell-you-the-moon stare. He had a salesman’s approach of retaining eye touch with a degree gaze and beaming natural power. “I come from an atmosphere the place you determine tips to make somebody do what you will have them to do,” he acknowledged. “It’s now not that I’m a biologist, or a physician, or a wealthy guy. yet I’m adequate of all these parts now that we will be able to make anything take place. by no means underestimate the facility of hubris. I’m too silly to understand to not try out. There’s a undeniable energy to that. simply get in there and begin swingin’. No it is because we can’t have treatment speedy. simply received to maneuver mountains. So what? Mountains might be moved. They’ve been moved earlier than. confidently i will blow you away back in extra months. ” “Jamie says, continue atmosphere most unlikely pursuits, and hold assembly them. We acknowledged, Let’s increase 2 hundred thousand, and we acquired 2 hundred thousand,” stated Robert. “Helps to have reasonably filthy rich friends—and loads of them,” acknowledged Jamie. “We made a plan and we did it,” acknowledged Robert. “And incidentally, I don’t have any reasonably prosperous neighbors. okay? Don’t contain me in that. ” Jamie ordered us 3 extra bottles of fizzy water. “Working up really a invoice in fizzy water lately,” stated Robert. If emotional intelligence is the facility to think many facets of a question even as, as Daniel Goleman says, then by the point the shadows lengthened on the street outdoors the café, i have to have had a truly low IQ. I forgot my reporter’s objectivity. Jamie and Robert had charmed me so thoroughly that I forgot myself, and the in poor health, and the life-and-death questions that lay forward for we all. All I knew used to be that they have been supplying me a superb tale on a charmed summer season day, and that i used to be able to sign up for their experience. It used to be effortless to think that way—and it was once simply as difficult to strength oneself to stick life like. For Jamie and Stephen that needed to be toughest of all. Jamie informed me that Stephen and Wendy had made up our minds to place the Cave in the back of them and get a spot jointly. that they had chanced on a gorgeous residence on Beacon road, in Boston’s again Bay. Jamie couldn't realize it. where that they had picked was once a fourth-floor walk-up. through the tip of dinner on the café, Jamie looked as if it would imagine he had bought me on his tale virtually too good. “Still,” he jogged my memory ultimately, “we’re portray an exquisite photograph the following. There’s particularly demanding stuff occurring. My brother is likely to die. ” i wished to disclaim it. “That’s reality,” Jamie acknowledged. “He’s a person i admire dearly, somebody i'm very with regards to.

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