You will not believe how the pediatric neuro-oncologist uses the venom from a scorpion’s sting to paint the malignant tumors in children’s brains and lymphatic systems. And, in the process, tap the human spirit.
"Inside the brain it is very difficult to tell the difference between normal brain and cancer. It’s all about millimeters. You’re a millimeter off, take a few grams of tissue that belong safely in the brain, then the patients wake up not as perfect as when they went into the surgery."
To solve this problem, Dr. Olson looked to the natural world. He found his answer in an unlikely candidate: the Israeli Deathstalker scorpion. which has the most powerful venom of any scorpion. The Deathstalker’s venom contains chlorotoxin, a peptide that attaches to certain brain cancer cells while leaving surrounding healthy cells untouched.
Pair this targeting peptide with a fluorescent dye (a beacon) and Dr. Olson came up with“tumor paint.” This method of lighting up cancer cells is 100,000 times more sensitive than an MRI in detecting cancer cells. And, more importantly, the tumor paint shows surgeons precisely what to cut out while leaving healthy cells in place.
Had the absolute honor of driving several hours with Rachel Naomi Remen. She’s a total mensch. And a riveting storyteller!
We chatted about everything from architecture to addressing people’s pain first and then attaching it to something they care about to enable long-lasting change. If you’ve never heard her speak (or even if you have), I implore you to listen to this conversation on “listening generously”: http://www.onbeing.org/program/listening-generously/124
What’s she holding, you ask? It’s a fruit called The Buddha’s Hand. Grown in the Sonoma Hills. Fantastic!
Here I am, looking out my window into downtown San Francisco, and these words from @ParkerPalmer pass my way:
"If we value things like friendship, family, community, education, workplaces that work, and democracy, there’s a minimum requirement. We must learn to talk with each other, even when we disagree. Not "at" each other, or even "to" each other, but "with" each other!
So, how’s that going for us? The answer varies from one person to another, from one setting to the next. But when it comes to American democracy, it’s not going very well.
The problem goes much deeper than the infamous dysfunction in Washington, D.C., where they got so worn down by the last round of not talking with each other that they’re taking a time-out before the next round of not talking with each other. The problem goes all the way down to us, to “We the People”.
WE could have an impact on how THEY talk with each other IF we would learn to talk with each other across OUR lines of difference. For real. In a democracy, that’s how “We the People” address urgent issues, form a rough consensus on the common good, and hold our leaders accountable to our will. When we can’t do any of that, we have no leverage on our government.”
Smooth. So smooth. Perfect for a Friday evening. Grab a cocktail and ease back, my friend.
The Internet Music - Red Balloon