June 28, 2009

ALL THAT SPENDING, ALL THOSE TESTS, AND NO CHANGE IN DEATH RATES:

Playing It Safe in Cancer Research (GINA KOLATA, 6/27/09, NY Times)

The cancer institute has spent $105 billion since President Richard M. Nixon declared war on the disease in 1971. The American Cancer Society, the largest private financer of cancer research, has spent about $3.4 billion on research grants since 1946.

Yet the fight against cancer is going slower than most had hoped, with only small changes in the death rate in the almost 40 years since it began.

One major impediment, scientists agree, is the grant system itself. It has become a sort of jobs program, a way to keep research laboratories going year after year with the understanding that the focus will be on small projects unlikely to take significant steps toward curing cancer.


The genius of the system is that as long as they keep finding and removing more "cancers" people will keep funding the jobs.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 28, 2009 7:02 AM
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