Could you share a defining moment and/or lesson learned from your experience with rare cancers?
Pemmaraju: “This such a great question to reflect on because it is important to not let the human element be lost in the data and science. One story that stays with me is a young family who came to us from out of state. The wife had been diagnosed with BPDCN, and initially they were looking for melanoma. When she received the diagnosis, multiple people in the room began a Google search and found our team. That was about 9.5 years ago, and we were reflecting on this recently and how the democratization of the internet allows connections that would not have been possible—or more difficult—before. That moment sticks with me now because I have become very passionate about the power of social media.
“What I've learned over these 10 years is to keep doing what you believe in. And also, I believe strongly that it is our moral obligation to get information out to people who need it the most, because if you're just writing papers in your library, the only ones who are going to read it are the other people writing papers. You've got to do your part to get the message out. That is something that really moves me—the power of technology to connect and make us remember that there are husbands, wives, brothers, and sisters who are dying of these rare diseases, and they find joy just as we do when we all connect in the clinic.”