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The Harold Varmus Papers

Letter from Harold Varmus to George F. Vande Woude, National Institutes of Health pdf (49,777 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Harold Varmus to George F. Vande Woude, National Institutes of Health
Number of Image Pages:
1 (49,777 Bytes)
1980-07-22 (July 22, 1980)
Varmus, Harold
Vande Woude, George F.
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Original Repository: University of California, San Francisco. Archives and Special Collections. Harold E. Varmus Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Regents of the University of California.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Terminology as Topic
Exhibit Category:
Retroviruses and the Genetic Origins of Cancer, 1970-1993
Metadata Record Letter from George F. Vande Woude, National Institutes of Health to Harold Varmus (June 27, 1980) pdf (46,205 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: 16
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: UCSF Collections
SubSeries: Collection Number MSS 84-25
SubSubSeries: Correspondence, 1971-1984
Folder: Oncology nomenclature, 1980-1981
22 July 1980
Dear George:
Thanks for your amusing letter about the nomenclature problem. I agree that mal is more mellifluous than onc, but onc has the virtue of wide circulation over the past six years, and we have tried to maintain stability of nomenclature whenever acceptable conceptually. I don't find onc or c-onc so awful to say; moreover, I find that I use the generic terms much less frequently than the specific ones (such as src or c-src) in conversation. I am also slightly concerned about the use of "malignant" for a class of genes which should encompass any which are tumorigenic but not necessarily determining for malignancy. In fact, there are many people who feel that virus-induced neoplasia may manifest the cardinal features of malignancy under the influence of factors other than viral transforming genes; certainly it has not been shown that the malignant behavior of tumors is induced by the genes we are naming.
So, unless you feel very strongly about it, I would prefer to stick with onc.
With best regards,
Harold E. Varmus, M.D.
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
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