NPR

Tweeting Oncologist Draws Ire And Admiration For Calling Out Hype

A young cancer doctor uses social media to skewer what he sees as overblown claims for "precision medicine." That doesn't make him hugely popular at cancer research meetings.
Dr. Vinay Prasad is 35 and an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where he researches health policy, the high cost of drugs and evidence-based medicine. He has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter. Source: Marvin Joseph

New advances in medicine also tend to come with a hefty dose of hype. Yes, some new cancer drugs in the hot field of precision medicine have worked remarkably well for some patients. But while many patients clamor for them, they aren't currently effective for the vast majority of cancers.

This stubborn fact has become a sticking point for an equally stubborn cancer doctor. At just 35 years old, Dr. Vinay Prasad has made a name for himself calling out the hype surrounding precision medicine and confronting other examples of hype in his field.

Prasad is a hematologist-oncologist, and an assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. Some have called him a professional troublemaker, a gadfly or a provocateur as he tweets to his 20,000-plus followers. He has sent nearly 30,000 tweets out to the twitterverse, putting him within hailing distance of Donald Trump,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from NPR

NPR2 min readPolitics
Oil Prices Jump Following Drone Attack On Saudi Oil Facility
The price surge comes after weekend strikes on the kingdom's Abqaiq oil processing plant and Khurais oil field. Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed responsibility, but the U.S. says Iran played a key role.
NPR2 min read
New York Set To Join Michigan In Banning Some E-Cigarettes
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will issue an emergency regulation banning certain flavored products. The move comes amid advances toward a similar federal ban.
NPR3 min read
'Homesick' Is A Boundary-Expanding Story Of Devotion And Growing Up
Accomplished translator Jennifer Croft's first non-translated work is a hybrid, mixing photography and impressionistic autobiographical writing to tell the story of Croft's artistic coming of age.