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Congress investigates NIH lung trial integrity

A congressional committee is investigating whether researchers have a conflict of interest in their work on tobacco effects. The Chronicle of Higher Education linkurl:reported;http://chronicle.com/news/article/3295/congressmen-seek-details-on-researchers-with-ties-to-tobacco-companies today that Congressmen John Dingell and Bart Stupak sent a linkurl:letter;http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.101907.NIH.NCI.ltr.pdf to the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the Nati

By | October 23, 2007

A congressional committee is investigating whether researchers have a conflict of interest in their work on tobacco effects. The Chronicle of Higher Education linkurl:reported;http://chronicle.com/news/article/3295/congressmen-seek-details-on-researchers-with-ties-to-tobacco-companies today that Congressmen John Dingell and Bart Stupak sent a linkurl:letter;http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110-ltr.101907.NIH.NCI.ltr.pdf to the directors of the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, indicating that they were investigating whether researchers had a conflict of interest that puts the integrity of the NCI's National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) at risk. The letter cites testimony given by two principle investigators for the NLST. The PIs were paid experts on behalf of tobacco companies facing lawsuits that would require them to pay for smokers' annual CT scans. Although the letter does not name the PIs, the Wall Street Journal linkurl:reported;http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119308048338667405.html that one of the testifiers was Denis Aberle, professor of radiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. The other was William Black, professor of radiology at Dartmouth College. The congressional investigation committee asked the NCI to examine the financial records of 50 individuals leading the $200 million lung trial. The intermixing of tobacco money into the academic funding pool has been banned by many research institutions and was long-debated by the University of California system, as I linkurl:reported;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/44525/ in January. Last month, UC Regents linkurl:decided;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53711/ to continue accepting money from big tobacco.
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