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Dr. Lederberg Opposes Federal Cancer Agency

Stanford University Medical Center News Bureau
Publication Date
  • Medicine


PUBLISHED BY THE STANFORD UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER NEWS BUREAU VOL. 13 NO. 4 APRIL 1971 Dr. Lederberg Opposes Federal Cancer Agency Proposed creation of a new federal agency to fight cancer would be a mis- take, Dr. Joshua Lederberg of Stanford University said March 16. The Nobel Laureate in genetics said that “all health research should be knit together within a single agency, specifi- cally an augmented and strengthened National Institutes of Health.” Lcderberg said that when a separate agency to lead a national crusade against cancer was proposed, hc publicly fa- vorcd it. This was because he thought a new organization might be a way to avoid traditional bureaucratic restraints and inconsistency that have hampered health research in the past several years. Since then, however, developments have led him to conclude that a separate agency for cancer is not the best choice. Among the new developments Leder- berg listed: l President Nixon’s new public com- mitment to health research in general, and cancer in particular. l evidence of a new balance, consis- tency and efficiency in administration of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare under Secretary Elliot Rich- ardson’s leadership. l statements by President Nixon’s sci- cnce adviser Edward David on the in- tegrity of basic scientific work in the health field, and the disadvantages of ex- Continued on page 4 Lederberg Opposes Cancer Agency tracting cancer work from the NIH. Ledcrbcrg cxprcssed his views in a let- ter to the subcommittee on health of the Senate’s Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. The subcommittee conducted the hearings in Washington on a bill which would remove the National Can- ccr Institute from the NIH and move it to an authority that would report di- rectly to the President. Lederberg also called for broadening the base for research on human cancer, and cautioned that a crusade against cancer is an oversimplification,

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