The Promise of Cancer Research

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Science  04 Apr 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5872, pp. 19
DOI: 10.1126/science.1158084

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In recent years, I have heard the argument that we already know enough about fundamental biological mechanisms to cure cancer, and that the best way to improve cancer outcomes would be to focus nearly all of our cancer research resources on applying what we know to develop therapies. This would be a mistake. To make my point, I describe two of many examples where a much deeper understanding of fundamental mechanisms seems almost certain to improve cancer treatments. Of necessity, I omit many other promising ways of attacking this disease.