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SAN DIEGO — If you’d seen him, you wouldn’t have known Scott Lippman was living through one of the most harrowing days of his 35-year career.

The veteran oncologist, who directs UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center, had been invited to a San Diego life science conference in late February packed with academics, venture capitalists, and biotech bigwigs. As Lippman calmly clicked through slides describing his research on head and neck cancer, few knew he’d arrived exhausted from the emergency room, where he’d been caring for a patient with the same type of cancer he was now talking about.

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