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Cancer Scientists Publish Commentary Describing Path Forward For Research, Prevention

Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday published a commentary “authored by Harold Varmus, Nobel prize-winning director of the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., and by Harpal Kumar, CEO of Cancer Research U.K., on behalf of leading [cancer research] institutions from Australia to Argentina and Taiwan to Turkey,” in which they describe a plan for addressing cancer in developed and developing countries, Guardian health editor Sarah Boseley reports in her “Global Health Blog.” She writes, “The piece came out of a meeting at the NIH last November, where scientists from 15 countries came together to discuss what should be done.” Boseley states the two main problems include a high and growing “cancer burden in developing countries … [with] very little treatment, let alone prevention,” and expensive research that is “failing to make the sort of progress we once expected.” The researchers call for less expensive vaccines for human papillomavirus, which can lead to cervical cancer; more vaccine research on cancer-causing viruses; more data sharing; and a stop to patenting genetic information, she notes. “Cancer Research U.K. hopes this document will prove a turning point in the fight against cancer, enlisting governments as well as scientific establishments and research funders in a global cause,” Boseley writes (3/6).