NCI chief says no retreat from fundamental research

Nature News has an in-depth, Q&A interview with Harold Varmus, chief of the National Cancer Institute. He bemoans the decline in funding, saying it has "...slowed the progress that is so important to the public, caused a lot of distress in our scientific community..." Still, he says, there's a great deal that can be done with a $5 billion budget. One thing that should be done, Varmus says, is to delve deeper into a basic understanding of genetic changes in cancer cells and how to use that fundamental information to fight it. "All basic scientists who look to the NCI for funding should know that I will tolerate no retreat on the study of model systems and the pursuit of fundamental biological principles." Interview