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More money to fight cancer

September 17, 2007

Re "An issue in remission," Opinion, Sept. 9

While Matthew Dallek's points are well taken, they underestimate the problem. We need to move away from the "all patients are created equal" paradigm to a practical application of individualized care. The much-touted genomic and proteomic platforms, however scientifically appealing, cannot at present meet this need, leading the major institutions to ever-larger clinical trials that are costly and ineffective. Available laboratory methodologies exist and can effectively address different patient responses. The unwillingness of the researchers to formally adopt these techniques must be the subject of Dallek's next article.

Robert Nagourney

Long Beach

The writer is medical director of the Malcolm C. Todd Cancer Center.

Dallek succinctly describes the frustration felt by many in the cancer community about presidential candidates' apparent lack of focus on the nation's cancer crisis. Clearly the disease of cancer and the issues surrounding it -- treatment's side effects, threat of recurrence, the economic effect of the disease on patients and society as a whole -- represent a public health crisis that must be addressed by our nation's leadership. Dallek stated that "beyond [Lance Armstrong's LiveStrong Foundation], there are few organizations pushing for more funding for basic cancer research." In fact, the Assn. of American Cancer Institutes has long advocated enhanced federal funding, as have many other national cancer organizations. The cancer community has worked hard to educate lawmakers about the importance of robust federal funding for cancer research, and our efforts should not be understated.

Barbara Duffy

Stewart

Executive Director

Assn. of American

Cancer Institutes

Pittsburgh

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