Friday, February 19, 2016

The Way to Cure Cancer- Not!

This week’s Nature had an article critical of the new $1 billion cancer cure project from the Obama administration. I agree with the journal. While one sympathizes completely with VP Biden’s recent tragic loss of his son to cancer, this is not the way to move forward. As in the past, throwing big bucks at cancer will probably involve large scale, multi-investigator ‘translational’ research projects that are often inefficient and unproductive.  What will ultimately benefit cancer patients is continuing research on basic molecular mechanisms of cancer and how to alter those mechanisms. For example, the recent evolution of the CRISPR gene editing technology, a basic research discovery, is likely to have a greater positive impact on cancer therapy than many of the more applied projects sponsored by the NCI.