In the quiet foothills of Kentucky, a massive supercomputer is churning through data. It is hunting for new drugs to fight cancer.
Every week, the DataseamGrid processes 300 man-years worth of calculations. Yeah, that’s 300 years of calculations every week. Drug discovery usually takes 10 to 15 years, but the DataseamGrid blazes through that work in a fraction of the usual time. It is one of the largest pipelines of potential new cancer drugs in the country. Researchers here are about to start human trials this year of a new drug discovered by the supercomputer, which, if successful, may lead to an entirely new class of cancer drugs.
Filippo Bigarella is a prolific and respected developer in the jailbreak community. The Italian teenager has released no less than 20 jailbreak tweaks and hacks in Cydia, the jailbreak alternative to the App Store. His work (e.g., Springtomize) has appeared numerous times on sites such as this one. To put it simply, he makes some of the best jailbreak tweaks there are. He’s also a full-time student.
Bigarella has released yet another jailbreak tweak that animates the iPhone’s app icons. The tweak itself is pretty simple, but the reason behind its release is special: funding pediatric cancer research.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that there will be 2 million new diagnoses of skin cancer in the U.S. alone this year, including nearly 80,000 cases of melanoma. Besides the obvious practice of routine checkups, those known to be a bit more preemptive have taken to whole body photography as a means to spot cancerous activity before it’s too late.
An iPhone app called UMSkinCheck is meant to be an easy way to check for skin cancer without the need of a trained professional. All you need to do is have someone use your iPhone to take 23 pictures of yourself completely nude.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been invited to participate in a roundtable discussion at the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s (NCCN) annual conference on clinical practice guidelines and quality cancer care. The topic of the discussion is Cancer and Corporate America: Business As Usual. At the moment it isn’t clear if Cook will attend (NCCN lists both speakers that have confirmed their attendance as well as those that have not).
The invitation raises some questions about why the organization chose to invite Cook. One obvious answer centers around the role that Cook played in managing Apple while Steve Jobs was fighting the pancreatic cancer that eventually led to his death last year. While that is certainly plausible, there could be other reasons behind NCCN’s invitation.
Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs is due out on Monday, but already a sad revelation from the book has come to light: Steve Jobs delayed the first operation on his pancreatic cancer back in 2004, ignoring the urgent pleas of his wife, friends and colleagues.
For people like me, and the other 28 million living with cancer, people like Steve Jobs are incredible role models. When I was undergoing chemotherapy three years ago, I was often tempted to think “why me?” But then I asked myself, “Why Steve Jobs? Why Lance Armstrong?” And I reflected on the remarkable things that they went on to achieve after their treatment. Their inspirational example helped me more than I can say.
Steve Jobs chooses not to talk about his cancer. He prefers to focus on his work. We should respect his choice.