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November 11, 1974

The Sloan-Kettering Affair

Author Affiliations

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center New York

JAMA. 1974;230(6):821. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03240060011002

To the Editor.—  Gail McBride commendably performed the difficult task of writing the first complete account of the "Sloan-Kettering affair." It is an excellent example of responsible investigative reporting and is sympathetic, fair, and balanced (229:1391, 1974).All journalists who have tried to report this story have had difficulty with such questions as: What can be learned from this episode? Is there too much pressure in science? Is this affair "typical" of science, or a symptom of the funding difficulties in science?My own feeling is that these questions are not very worthwhile because, as is clear from Gail McBride's account, the story mainly concerns a highly personal tragedy of a single individual. It would not be appropriate to speculate here on the psychodynamics involved, but I would agree that self-deception was an important factor. For this reason, the action of the Institute in providing a period of medical leave