Hutchinson's Mixed Win

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Science  16 Apr 2004:
Vol. 304, Issue 5669, pp. 371
DOI: 10.1126/science.304.5669.371c

The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle last week mostly won a legal battle over a failed 1980s clinical trial. The Hutch, as it is known, was peppered by lawsuits after The Seattle Times ran articles in 2001 alleging that its doctors misled patient volunteers about the risks of a bone marrow transfer experiment and failed to disclose that researchers owned shares in a support company (Science, 6 April 2001, p. 25). Eighty-three of 85 cancer patients in the experiment died of various causes.

A superior court in Seattle allowed claims from five families but dismissed fraud and conflict-of-interest allegations. Last week the jury rejected four of the five remaining claims. However, it awarded the family of David Yingling $1 million, concluding that the Hutch had contributed to his death in 1983. An attorney for the Hutch has suggested that it may soon settle 10 other threatened lawsuits.

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