Still fighting 40 years on - a rich pipeline to combat the complexity of cancer
This article was originally published in Scrip
December will mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of US President Richard Nixon's "War on Cancer". In retrospect, the unbridled optimism underpinning its noble aims seems somewhat naive. The parallels Nixon drew with the earlier achievements in space travel demonstrate how little was understood of the battle ahead. Reaching the moon had been accomplished by focusing money and intellect on what were, in essence, engineering challenges framed by well-defined and stable physical laws. In contrast, the major lesson from the intervening 40 years in oncology research has been the gradual and hard-won realization of how little of cancer biology is understood and how badly this lack of knowledge impedes the rational design of new therapies.