Throughout my 35-year career, I have joyfully observed the dramatic growth of medical research and biotechnology. I've had the good fortune, over time, to witness this evolution as a participant in each of the medical-research enterprise's three sponsoring environments: government, academia, and industry.

More than anything this diverse experience has instilled in me a powerful belief that any improvement in the health and well-being of people, any progress toward humankind's fundamental desire to live longer, healthier lives, depends on the contributions of medical research-- whether basic or applied, whether centered in the laboratory or clinic, whether nurtured by government, academia, or industry.

This experience also has shaped my perspective that science has only begun to realize its vast potential to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure disease. Today, we are on the brink of uncovering the basic mechanisms responsible for such diseases as cancer, Alzheimer's, and diabetes. We're tracking down human...

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