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Abstract composition of design object with lines and spheres

Notable Science Quotes

Reviving the Cancer Moonshot, disentangling the microbiome's effect in cancer, the observer effect, and more

The Scientist Staff
Mar 16, 2022

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Because of recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to set ambitious goals: to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer—and, by doing this and more, end cancer as we know it today.

The Biden-Harris Administration, in a White House statement entitled “Fact Sheet: President Biden Reignites Cancer Moonshot to End Cancer as We Know It” (February 2)


With the delay in diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening illnesses—including cancer—during the pandemic, this moonshot is a long shot. . . . Biden’s efforts to decrease cancer deaths will need to go hand-in-hand with better control of future COVID surges and keeping our healthcare system afloat. Biden’s cancer moonshoot demands a COVID moonshoot as well.  

Susannah Hills, an assistant professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Columbia University, writing in The Hill about COVID-19–related challenges to a reignited effort to conquer cancer (February 22)


When researchers are not aware of the Observer Effect, experimental results may be strongly influenced by unappreciated and undesirable effects on the underlying biology that are generated by the very tools used to facilitate the observation, resulting in published results that are unintentionally distorted.

Chi-Ping Day et al., National Cancer Institute scientists, writing in a March 14 Cancer Cell commentary about recent findings indicating that the use of widely employed research tools, such as green fluorescent protein and Cas9, can interfere with various aspects of tumor biology


Most studies focus on positive correlations between the microbiome and cancer outcomes. This work focused on negative correlations of the microbiome with cancer, and suggests that in some conditions, the constituency of the microbiome may have a negative impact.

Tracy McGaha, a professor of immunology at the University of Toronto and coauthor of a study recently published in Immunity that suggests Lactobacillus bacteria, common members of the human gut microbiome, may interact with macrophages to spur tumor growth (Medical News Today, February 23)


I hope that [in] 2022 we see a real uplifting and rise of more Black professionals in all professions so that our young children in the high schools and elementary schools can see that.

Juliet Daniel, a cancer researcher at McMaster University in Ontario who studies triple-negative breast cancer and cofounded the Canadian Black Scientists Network (CBC, February 18)