Ask an alum: Will a cure for cancer ever be discovered?

Rick Ryan ’70, member of the Central College board of trustees, was vice president of drug discovery and development at Millipore, a biomanufacturing and life science research company. His business unit provided various products and services that helped pharmaceutical companies develop new drugs, including some for cancer. Ryan retired in 2010 but is now helping a startup that manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Ryan says: “The simple answer is yes—in fact, a few cancers already have effective treatments. However, it’s now known that there are many different kinds of cancers. In general, all cancers are caused by flaws in the normal metabolism of cells, so that they become uncontrolled and operate at a very high rate. Those effects are normally caused by faulty signaling pathways inside cells. There’s an enormous amount of information being discovered today about these signaling pathways, which will eventually allow us to control or cure many cancers.”

Read about the cancer research being done by Nyla Rozeboom Heerema ’63.

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