From The Cancer Chronicles #26
© Feb. 1995 by Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D.

In late December, Samuel Broder, MD announced that he was stepping down as director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He will become chief scientific officer, at more than twice his current salary, of a Miami-based chemotherapy company, Ivax, Inc.

Harold Varmus, MD, head of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCI's parent body, announced that he had assembled a search committee for a new director. The committee will be headed by Paul Marks, MD, president of Memorial Sloan - Kettering Cancer Center in New York. This committee will operate at a "lively pace," Varmus promised, and by March is expected to present three to five candidates to the White House. Because of provisions in the National Cancer Act of 1971, the job does not require Senate confirmation.

At the same time, the deputy director and the heads of cancer etiology, cancer therapy, tumor virus biology, cellular and molecular biology, molecular oncology, chemoprevention, and tumor cell biology have either left NCI already or in the process of doing so. According to Science, NCI is being "hollowed out" as top doctors accept large salaries outside the institute. Most of them are going to head up oncology department at academic centers, most of which in turn were built up using NCI funds. It's a small world!

With bone marrow transplantation and other high-tech procedures, billings for cancer patients at these hospitals have become so lucrative that cancer in now recognized as an "important business consideration for university hospitals," said Science (267:24, 1995).

This moment could have presented a wonderful opportunity to alter the losing strategy of the war on cancer. But the choice of Dr. Marks to head the selection committee is not auspicious. In addition to his post at MSKCC, Dr. Marks is a director of Pfizer, Inc., a manufacturer of chemotherapeutic drugs and in one year at MSKCC he took $2.2 million in salary. Neither he nor he institution is a friend of alternative medicine.

The chances are therefore strong that the new candidate will represent business-as-usual for the oncology community, and not the kind of innovative person, open to alternatives, that is desperately needed.

We now see the folly of having this appointment bypass the Senate, which is less likely to be manipulated by the powerful cancer establishment.

Ralph W. Moss, Ph.D. is director of the The Moss Reports for cancer patients. Dr. Moss is the author of eleven books and three documentaries on cancer-related topics. He is or has been an advisor on alternative cancer treatments to the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, the American Urological Association, Columbia University, the University of Texas, the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the German Society of Oncology. He wrote the first article on alternative medicine for the Encyclopedia Britannica yearbook. He is listed in Marquis Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in the East, and Who's Who in Entertainment (as a film documentarian). This Web site does not advocate any particular treatment for cancer. We urge you to always seek competent medical advice for all health problems, especially cancer. Before consulting our site please read our full Disclaimer statement.

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