For the past several years, the financial squeeze has been on for government-supported biomedical research, forcing officials to make hard choices about the distribution of funds. The budget crunch within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has played a role in the delay and potential halting of a major US cancer prevention trial that was set to begin last month.
“We were preparing to launch the study, and now it's on hold. It's regrettable,” explained oncologist D. Lawrence Wickerham, MD, of the center that designed the trial, the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, in Pittsburgh. “It's very disturbing and if it is delayed further or if it is stopped altogether, it sends the wrong message—that cancer prevention isn't an important priority at the NCI,” he said.
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