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The End of the Beginning

Cancer, Immunity, and the Future of a Cure

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A fascinating history of our understanding and the treatment of cancer by one of the leading figures in the field—who is also a pioneer on the cusp of a breakthrough.

For the first time since a 5th century Greek physician gave the name “cancer” (karkinos, in Greek) to a deadly disease first described in Egyptian Papyri, the medical world is near a breakthrough that could allow even the most conservative doctors and pragmatic patients to use the other “c word” – cure – in the same sentence as cancer. A remarkable series of events has brought us to this point, thanks in large part to a new ability to more efficiently harness the extraordinary power of the human immune system.

The End of the Beginning is a remarkable history of cancer treatment and the evolution of our understanding of its dynamic interplay with the immune system. Through Michael Kinch’s personal experience as a cancer researcher and the head of the oncology program at a leading biotechnology company, we witness the incredible accumulation of breakthrough science and its rapid translation into life-saving technologies that have begun to dramatically increase the quality and quantity of life for cancer patients.

In clear and accessible prose, Kinch details the remarkable history of people, science, technology and disease and presents thrilling next-generation technologies that hold the promise to eliminate cancer for some, and perhaps ultimately, for all.

About The Author


Michael Kinch is a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of Between Hope and Fear (Pegasus Books), The End of the Beginning (Pegasus Books) and A Prescription for Change (UNC Press). Beyond his current work documenting the sources of innovation responsible for new medicines, he has led cancer research activities at the biotechnology company MedImmune and the development of medicines to prevent pandemic virus outbreaks at Functional Genetics, Inc. He led drug discovery at Yale University before moving to St Louis.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (April 2, 2019)
  • Length: 328 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781643130255

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Raves and Reviews

"Kinch builds on the narrative he began with Between Hope and Fear. He now changes focus to review cancer biology and the promise of immune-mediated treatments.  He can speak with authority [and] his narrative is lavishly ornamented. This immunologist explains it all."

– New York Times

"Kinch writes with passion and authority. He deftly describes how each immune system is unique, shaped in part by individual histories of infection. The End of the Beginning is a timely reminder of the bright future in cancer treatment that seems to lie ahead."

– Nature

"A richly detailed, expert description of the history of cancer, its treatment, and research that is now producing quantum-leap breakthrough therapy. As the title suggests, scientists have reached only the end of the beginning, but the beginning of the end of cancer is on the horizon, and Kinch's intensely researched, definitely not dumbed down and lucid account makes this superbly clear."

– Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Asking what is meant by the ‘deceiving’ word ‘cancer,’ [the author] provides a nuanced answer that debunks misconceptions. Kinch also describes and explains the pioneering research linking cancer and viruses conducted worldwide during the last century. Readers may will gain from his thoughtful book an improved understanding of the ‘promises and perils’ involved in finding a cure for cancer."

– Publishers Weekly

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