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How to win the war against cancer

The power of massive, integrated programs must be brought to bear

Frank L. Douglas and Robert E. Litan
Editor's note: After a decades-long war against cancer, experts are calling for new ways to approach the disease. The following is an opinion article running in our December issue, which we are running early to stimulate discussion online.After tens of billions of US federal dollars (plus billions more from private sources) and nearly 40 years of aggressive research, the war on cancer is depressingly far from over. Cancer will soon become the leading cause of death in America, passing heart disease. At some point in their lives, 43% of the public will get some form of cancer. Progress has been made, however. Age-adjusted rates for those who develop cancer are down, and survival rates have increased. Knowledge of the molecular and genetic mechanisms has increased significantly. Strategies for targeting therapies selectively to tumors are becoming increasingly available. We also know more about how diet and other lifestyle choices, as...
Frank Douglas is a Partner at Puretech Ventures and a Senior Fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. Robert E. Litan is Vice President for Research and Policy at Kauffman and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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