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Watson Says Cancer Moonshot Is the "Same Old Ideas"

Nobel Laureate James Watson has called the US Cancer Moonshot Initiative "crap," according to Stat News.

The project, announced by US President Barack Obama earlier this year and led by Vice President Joe Biden, aims to increase funding for cancer research and break down the walls that seperate different aspects of cancer research.

In a Q&A with Stat News' Sharon Begley, Watson bemoans that the idea and says that it's like all previous efforts at curing cancer. "[I]t's the same old people getting together, forming committees, and the same old ideas, and it's all crap," he says.

He also tells her that sequencing likely won't help treat late-stage cancer since the mutations that crop up in metastatic cancer differ from the ones that set the disease off in the first place. However, he adds that he's become more optimistic about curing cancer.

Watson says he's particularly encouraged by an experimental drug Boston Biomedical — Begley notes that Watson is a paid consultant for the company — is developing. It targets the transcription factor STAT3, which is expressed in a number of cancers. He says the drug appears to make tumors susceptible again to certain chemotherapies.

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