Normal Limits

"Chance is the very guide of life"

"In practical medicine the facts are far too few for them to enter into the calculus of probabilities... in applied medicine we are always concerned with the individual" -- S. D. Poisson

October 22, 2005

Science - [LETTERS] An Open Letter to Cancer Researchers

Stephen J. Elledge, Gregory J. Hannon

As cancer researchers, we have a special responsibility with respect to guiding resource allocation to fight cancer. We need to be able to look cancer patients and their families in the eye and say, "We are spending your money in the best way we know to find a cure for you." We must apply this standard in judging any large-scale proposal for dedicated research funding allocations. As currently configured, the [Human Cancer Genome Prokect (HCGP)] needs to be reconsidered and reprioritized to produce a program that gives us the best chance for fighting this disease. Therefore, because the most productive direction of research is still a debatable question, we propose that (i) sequencing be delayed until advances in sequencing technology are achieved; (ii) objective criteria be established to allow a go/no go decision for continued DNA sequencing based on pilot studies; and (iii) large-scale genetic screening to identify targets whose inhibition kills cancer cells should be incorporated into the HCGP.

$1.5 billion over 10 years!

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