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ScientIST: Dr. Dennis Slamon and Herceptin

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LAist’s freshly minted Ph.D., Melissa, is stepping out of the lab to bring you Scient-IST. Our resident expert will give you the inside scoop on health, science and breaking research.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our kick-off columns will focus on the latest in breast cancer studies, activism and more.

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Who says scientists can’t be celebrities? They’ve got cool gear (PET scanners), adoring fans (Big Pharma), big money prizes (ahem, Nobel), and in the case of world-renowned oncologist and UCLA professor Dr. Dennis J. Slamon, a book memorializing their life’s greatest scientific achievement (to date) penned by NBC News Chief Science and Health correspondent Robert Bazell: HER-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer. In traditional Hollywood fashion, the movie adaptation followed (2008’s Living Proof for Lifetime Television), with Harry Connick, Jr. in the title role. Not bad for someone who spends the majority of his time in a laboratory with over-caffeinated grad students instead of between the pages of US Magazine, right?