By Sharon Begley
NEW YORK | Wed Jan 9, 2013 6:34am EST
(Reuters) - A day after an exhaustive national report on cancer found the United States is making only slow progress against the disease, one of the country's most iconic - and iconoclastic - scientists weighed in on "the war against cancer." And he does not like what he sees.
James Watson, co-discoverer of the double helix structure of DNA, lit into targets large and small. On government officials who oversee cancer research, he wrote in a paper published on Tuesday in the journal Open Biology, "We now have no general of influence, much less power ... leading our country's War on Cancer."
On the $100 million U.S. project to determine the DNA changes that drive nine forms of cancer: It is "not likely to produce the truly breakthrough drugs that we now so desperately need," Watson argued. On the idea that antioxidants such as those in colorful berries fight cancer: "The time has come to seriously ask whether antioxidant use much more likely causes than prevents cancer."
I'll provide a link to his journal article: Oxidants, antioxidants and the current incurability of metastatic cancers (Reuters didn't) my unscientific take on it has been for some time that we are funding rather than fighting the war on cancer. But one point to Reuters for not bringing up the 2007 kerfuffle.
What got Watson fired was saying, to the London Sunday Times, that he was
"'inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa' because 'all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really.'" [The elementary DNA of Dr Watson, By Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe, October 14, 2007]
Africa is also a case where there's a whole lot of funding going on.