Letter From the Editor

Bruce D. Cheson, MD

History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation. — Julian Barnes

With the January 2012 issue of Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology begins the second decade of publication. When I assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief, I never imagined the journal would be so successful. At the start, I was quite skeptical that another new journal was needed or that one would survive. But survive, and thrive, we have. And, I clearly never thought anyone would pay much attention to my ramblings in the monthly Letter. I recently went to my shelf and pulled off the inaugural issue. After a few moments spent snickering at my youthful picture, I read what I had written, and it brought back fond memories. What was accurate and what was mere whimsy cannot be determined. I was in a time of transition in my career. I had just left the NCI for a new adventure in Georgetown and the real world. Perusing the letters in subsequent issues, I found book, music, and movie reviews, lists of Thanksgiving thanks and New Year’s resolutions. I reminisced about the fun I had playing at the House of Blues with the Oncotones, now just a memory as the dreaded tinnitus has put a restraining order between me and an amplifier. There have been discussions of the benefits of wine. I have grumbled Andy Rooney-esque about the NCI, funding for lymphoma research, hospitalists, short working hours for housestaff and fellows, the SARS epidemic, FDA deliberations, retirement, ghostwriters, facilitators, the end of cursive, healthcare, war, speakers’ bureaus, PhRMA and the changing face of interactions with the pharmaceutical industry, social networking, and aging. I have groused about how large and impersonal ASCO and ASH have become. Perhaps my favorite letter was the one in which I generated my top 10 give-aways at the meetings (no longer a topic I could write about as they are long gone), the winner being the purported poster carrier—which was actually an insulated 6-pack holder. I then went through the drawers in my desk to consider what possible impact those hundreds of pens, pads, USB drives, and pointers might have had on my prescribing practices. Readers were confused or amused by my discussion about the Big Bang and Star Trek and how they related to breast implants, and they were hopefully intrigued by Cheson’s rule of new drug development. I have rambled on and on about the dreadful experiences of travel, and described my delight with the occasional surprises, such as learning about onotherapy in Lisbon and experiencing St. Petersburg. There have been the wonderful family vacations. There were letters about a world of new contraptions, such as the iPhone and iPad, yet I continue to hold on to my fountain pens. I have elaborated on the deep respect I have for my many good friends and my mentors, most notably George Canellos and Bob Schwartz. I have written with pride about my involvement in the CALGB, which has now morphed gracefully into the Alliance, and those hard-working, dedicated members of my Lymphoma Committee. I still have on the table in my office the note I wrote when my dear Ellie Rose died, one of the saddest days I have experienced, but which was followed by the arrival of my Annie, who is my joy of joys. For the past 5 years, I have written about bicycling, from my crashes to the Lymphoma Research Ride created by me and my wife (and my gratitude to her for putting up with me all these years), along with a group of patients and pharmaceutical people who have become such good friends over this time. There are pages full of experiences with patients, those who were hateful and those who brought me tears of either joy or sadness, and sometimes self-awareness. In this decade, my daughter has not only grown up and gotten married, but has one daughter with another due in April. I have quoted various sources, from Wilde to Petty, Dylan, Coelho, Forbes, Warhol, Twain, Donkey, Hubbard and Hakkarainen, Fogerty, BB Wolf, Lacks, Bierce, Camus, Bulwer-Lytton, Stevenson, Wells, Young, Eliot, and, of course, Anonymous.

But as the Journal moves into the next decade, we hope to keep up with the trends. The subtle and tasteful changes in the cover design will be accompanied by an improved web page and, hopefully soon, its own app and, perhaps, a QR bar code.

For these rather splendid years, I would like to thank my publishers Steve and Paul for getting the whole thing started and having the “wisdom” (or poor judgment) to ask me to do it. Thanks also to Jessica, my initial Managing Editor, without whom the journal never would have gotten off the ground (although she hated my monthly letters, repeatedly asking me to focus on science and stop meandering), to Jacquelyn, the current Editorial Director who has been wonderful at keeping it buoyant, Ellie our Editor, Stacey our Associate Editor, our Editorial Advisory Board, and to Liz, my occasional muse, who has done such an admirable job collaborating with me on the meeting supplements.

And most of all, thanks to our readers, without whom there would be no point doing what we are doing.

Until the next decade . . .

Bruce D. Cheson, MD