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Lung Cancer Study Under Fire

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It's a well-known fact that researchers who want to conduct experiments on human subjects must get informed consent from each of the partcipants, acknowledging the risks of said experiments, says The New York Times' Gardiner Harris. But the researchers who conducted a "controversial" and "widely publicized" lung cancer study in 2006, which involved more than 50,000 participants, say they can't locate about 90 percent of the consent forms, Harris says. The trial, led by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, concluded that 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented if doctors more widely screened patients with CT scans. The trial drew criticism and skepticism, especially when it came to light in 2008 that the study had been financed in large part by a cigarette maker, Harris says. At the time, critics of the study said they couldn't find out whether informed consent was obtained, or whether the forms were lost. A spokesman for Weill Cornell says all federal research regulations were followed, Harris adds. The journal The Oncologist, which published the study, says that if there was no informed consent from the patients in the study, then the paper would have to be retracted.

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