Nobel laureate Harold Varmus tells the Globe and Mail that progress in cancer research for the next few years will "be singles and doubles but not home runs." Varmus, who is the head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, says that there have been unrealistically high expectations for cancer research since US President Nixon declared war on it in 1971, and that media hype fuels those high hopes. "The hope that advocacy groups understandably have – that if we just do a little bit more research and apply it at the bedside, that we're going to cure cancer – is really terribly simplistic," he says.
Varmus also adds that how people are taught science in school, focusing on outcomes and not the process, maintains a "culture of unrealistic expectations." Varmus was in Toronto to receive the Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research.