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On the Plus Side, This Is One War with Support at Home

The Boston Globe has a feature story on the war on cancer, and what it calls a growing sense of discouragement among researchers and advocate groups with the slow progress in treatment and therapeutics. "For many types of cancer, once the disease has spread, or metastasized, the patient's chance of long-term survival is not much better than when President Nixon declared 'war' on the disease in 1971, triggering what is now a $69 billion federal investment in cancer research," according to the article. "With federal funding for cancer research frozen since 2003, critics say the pace of progress could slow even more as young researchers leave the field."

Over at Omics! Omics!, blogger Keith Robison reflects on the Globe article. He notes that "what the article fails to explore is that we can't really know if we are about to have a sharp turnaround" -- this, he says, is because of the lag between the release of a drug and its effect on long-term survival rates in cancer patients. He also says that "proposing to eradicate cancer by some time in the very near future" (such as Andrew von Eschenbach's plan to eliminate cancer by 2015) is simply a "recipe for disaster" with unrealistic expectations.

 

The Scan

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.