Tech Tonics: Allison Kurian, Bringing Curiosity and Compassion To Breast Cancer Genetics

February 18th, 2019 |
Image for FaceBook

 
Share this post:
Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest | Reddit | Email
 
This post can be linked to directly with the following short URL:


 
The audio player code can be copied in different sizes:
144p, 240p, 360p, 480p, 540p, Other


 
The audio player code can be used without the image as follows:


 
This audio file can be linked to by copying the following URL:


 
Download the audio file.
 
Subscribe:
Connected Social Media - iTunes | Spotify | Google | Stitcher | TuneIn | Twitter | RSS Feed | Email
Tech Tonics - iTunes | Spotify | Google | Stitcher | TuneIn | Twitter | RSS Feed | Email
 

Allison Kurian never had a chance.  The daughter of two prominent academics, Diana Chapman Walsh the former President of Wellesley College and Chris Walsh, a renowned Harvard biochemist – Allison was destined by genetics and environment, it seems, to become the exceptional scholar and clinician-scientist who she is now.

A self-described studious kid, Allison grew up in a house where scholarship was prized, and interesting intellectual celebrities were frequent guests.  Despite her affection for Boston, Allison attended college at Stanford, which she adored, then returned to Boston for medical school (where she overlapped with David, who remembers her on clinical rotations playing Gallant to his Goofus), trained in internal medicine at MGH, and then returned once again to Palo Alto for her oncology fellowship training at Stanford, then was invited to join the faculty.

On today’s show, Allison discusses the current state of breast cancer genetics, her research focus, and addresses a range of really interesting and difficult questions, such as who should be screened for susceptibility genes.  She touches on examples of people who should be screened but often aren’t (patients with ovarian cancer), and examples of how well-intentioned screening can be helpful if correctly interpreted but harmful if misinterpreted, such as if a “variant of uncertain significance” is viewed as pathologic, potentially leading to unwarranted major surgery.

Allison has a remarkable gift for making the complex understandable, and for offering evidence-backed insight with compassion and humanity.  We are thrilled to have her on the program today!

 

Today’s episode is sponsored by Rockpointe: innovators in medical education and patient engagement. Rockpointe: innovators in medical education and patient engagement. To learn more go to: RockpointE.com

 

Show notes:

David’s 2014 Forbes on breast cancer screening here; contrasting take by Dr. Steven Salzberg in Forbes here.

Photo credit: Steve Fisch

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
 
Posted in: Audio Podcast, Healthcare, Tech Tonics, Technology