Zarah’s donated samples were used by researchers – many others should have the chance to do the same

Last week, sitting at my desk at work, I clicked on a newly arrived PDF with considerably more trepidation than usual. The draft expanded to fill my screen, and I nervously scrolled down past a list of authors’ names into a soup of acronyms and jargon. Is she in there? I wondered, my breath quickening.

As part of a global effort to diagnose and treat cancer more effectively, every year researchers analyse millions of patient samples in different ways. Cancer’s inner secrets, and its inherently destructive nature, are being laid out in increasing detail. New avenues open up, new vulnerabilities are exposed. Consequently, step by step, survival stats creep ever upwards.

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