Government Briefs

A feud is brewing between the two health agencies that should be collaborating on the federal effort to combat cancer and AIDS. On one side are gung-ho researchers at the National Cancer Institute who want to test novel therapies as quickly as possible; on the other are the go-slow regulators at the Food and Drug Administration who insist on safety. FDA's detailed regulations governing clinical trials are so frustrating to researchers, grumbles Bruce Chabner, head of NCI's division of cancer t

The Scientist Staff
Feb 5, 1989

A feud is brewing between the two health agencies that should be collaborating on the federal effort to combat cancer and AIDS. On one side are gung-ho researchers at the National Cancer Institute who want to test novel therapies as quickly as possible; on the other are the go-slow regulators at the Food and Drug Administration who insist on safety. FDA's detailed regulations governing clinical trials are so frustrating to researchers, grumbles Bruce Chabner, head of NCI's division of cancer treatment, that "sometimes I wish FDA wasn't there at all." For his part, FDA Commissioner Frank Young acknowledges that the relationship between the two agencies "has deteriorated" over the past 18 months. But he denies that his agency's procedures represent an inappropriate obstacle to the approval of new drugs.

The Reagan administration may have faded into history, but not before taking one last step on behalf of a favorite project,...