Retiring NCI director Harold Varmus reports on the condition of cancer research!! #science

Check out this insightful NYTimes article/interview with Harold Varmus, retiring director of National Cancer Institute, on what he considers the current condition of cancer research.

In a letter to colleagues announcing his departure as the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Harold Varmus, 75, quoted Mae West. “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor,” he wrote, “and rich is better.”

The line was characteristic of Dr. Varmus: playful and frank, not what one might expect from a Nobel laureate. But it also distilled a central question facing biomedical research today. Is the decline in funding that has shaken universities and research labs here to stay? If so, what does that mean for scientific research?

Dr. Varmus, whose last day at the cancer institute is Tuesday, recently reflected on financial constraints in science, the fight against cancer and his own efforts to remain healthy.

Read the great interview here!!!

#Science and Health Communication Internships at National Cancer Institute! #scicomm @NIH

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Two more great opportunities for scientists/researchers interested in gaining experience in science and health communication!! Check out the site here for more info and the application!

The HCIP gives highly qualified graduate students and recent graduate degree recipients the opportunity to participate in vital health and science communications projects in one of the many offices that make up the NCI.  Interns will select an area of emphasis: Health Communications or Science Writing.  Six-month and one-year internship terms are available.

Info below on the two distinct internships!!

Successful Health Communications applicants have some science background as well as experience and/or education in any of the following areas:  public health, epidemiology, public relations, health education, communications, science writing, statistics, social marketing, or journalism.

Successful Science Writing applicants have a science background with the ability to translate complex scientific concepts into material suitable for a lay audience.

Kids get cancer: support pediatric cancer research #STEPUP

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Stephen Crowley writing for The Hill describes in detail the pathetic lack of support and funding for pediatric cancer research over the last decade.

Cancer kills more children in the U.S. than any other disease — more than AIDS, asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and congenital anomalies combined. Yet government funding for pediatric cancer research through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has declined by 30 percent over the last decade, with further significant cuts looming. Even without these cuts, only 4% of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) budget goes to pediatric cancer research.

Crowley is keen to point out that the the National Cancer Institute only uses 4% of its budget for childhood cancer research, and additionally, drug companies do little in terms of pediatric cancer drug development due to low profit potential. That means that we are pushing old drugs with many side effects onto children with cancer, who have the most to lose from these types of chemotherapies.

Despite revolutionary changes in science and technology, the FDA has approved only two drugs over the last twenty years specifically for pediatric cancer, and one-half of all the chemotherapies used for children’s cancers are over 25 years old.

Check out his post for more info, including info on advocacy measures (#StepUp) going on this week and in the near future. Don’t forget to check out the many #STEPUP websites (example here) and support them on twitter.

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