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The Forty Years' War

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The 'War on Cancer' is 40 years old today, and the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog spoke with American Society of Clinical Oncology President Michael Link about those four decades and what remains to be done. "The most important thing to point out is the return on investment in lab research," Link tells the Health Blog, citing advances in understanding the molecular nature of cancer and drugs like Gleevec to target specific cancers. Link adds that cure rates for many pediatric cancers have risen, while death rates for all cancers have fallen.

For the future, Link envisions a focus on more difficult cancers like pancreatic cancer or metastatic colon cancer, as well as efforts toward early detection and prevention. "We know how to prevent some cancers and we have not done it," Link says, referring to tobacco use.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.