Cancer Chief Fires Back

John Niederhuber, the director of the National Cancer Institute, is not a fan of Sunday’s front-page article in The New York Times that harshly critiques how cancer research is funded. The story, whose title, “Grant System Leads Cancer Researchers to Play It Safe,” leaves little to the imagination and prompted a flood of mostly supportive comments from frustrated scientists who say the peer review system isn’t backing the most innovative research.

Niederhuber says this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In a lengthy rebuttal in the June 30 NCI Cancer Bulletin, he wrote that he was “disappointed in the Times story,” and gave several examples of NCI’s creativity—including its cancer genome project and planned physical science-oncology centers.