Need for a Commission on the Conquest of Cancer as a National Goal by 1976
The present research effort in cancer has shown that 4 or 5 minor forms of cancer can be successfully treated with drugs.
However, against the forms of cancer which cause the largest number of deaths, drugs cause only temporary remissions. 300,000
Americans still die of this disease each year.
No large mission or goal-directed effort, supported with adequate funds has ever been organized against these diseases. (Cancer
is really a group of diseases.)
However, in the atomic sphere, and in outer space when a national goal was set and adequately funded, the United States has
been victorious, and has landed men on the moon. The same talents for organization, goal-directed, as have been used in outer
space planning and financing should be applied to cancer.
Such authorities as Dr. Sidney Farber, the president of the American Cancer Society; Dr. R. Lee Clark of the M. D. Anderson
Institute for Cancer Research in Houston; and Dr. Robert J. Huebner of the National Cancer Institute, among others, state
the answers to cancer can be found if the effort is well planned in stages and sufficiently well financed. There are advances
in the fields of viruses, drugs and other areas which make them feel sure that the final answers can be developed.
President Nixon and Secretary Finch should appoint a Commission on the Conquest of Cancer which would include space scientists,
industrialists, administrators, planners, and cancer research specialists. A Commission should include men such as Mr. Laurance
S. Rockefeller; Mr. Thomas J. Watson, Jr., of the International Business Machines Company; Dr. R. Lee Clark of the M.D. Anderson
Institute for Cancer Research in Houston; Dr. Sidney Farber of the Children's Cancer Research Hospital in Boston; Dr.
Sol Spiegelman of the Institute for Cancer Research in New York; Dr. Arthur Kornberg of the Stanford University School of
Medicine; Dr. Wendell M. Stanley, Virus Laboratory, University of California in Berkeley; Dr. Joshua Lederberg of Stanford
University; Dr. Cecil L. Wittson of the University of Nebraska Medical Center; Dr. Solomon Garb of the University of Missouri;
Mr. Walter Reuther, head of the UAW; Mr. Emerson Foote, former head of McCann-Erickson, and others, with suitable staff. They
should be entrusted to outline the possibilities for the conquest of cancer for the Congress of the United States at whatever
Whatever the cost, which would rise as plans developed, the answer would save 300,000 lives each year -- ten times more than
have died in the entire Vietnamese effort in eight years.
The present effort in cancer research from all sources is somewhat over 200 million dollars, compared with about 5 billion
dollars appropriated for the exploration of outer space. Exploration of cancer -- inner space -- can be successful and hundreds
of thousands of lives saved each year. This saving of lives will add to the gross national product and many times pay for
the total expenditures.
Human agony and tragedy can be reduced and mankind will be in debt to the United States.
An average of three additional years of life for these 300,000 annual victims of cancer could be estimated to add at least
three billion dollars to the gross national product through increased earnings and over $450 million in additional Federal
income tax revenue.
Diseases which were considered the "will of God." have been conquered in our time. Tuberculosis deaths have declined
nearly 90% since 1946 due to drugs, and polio is almost non -existent due to vaccines.
Now is the time to make a maximum effort against cancer through a Presidential Commission for the Conquest of Cancer.
Suggested Advisory Commission on the Conquest of Cancer
Laurance S. Rockefeller, President, Memorial Hospital, New York
Frank A. Lindsay, President of Itek Corporation. (Was chairman of President Nixon's Task Force on Science during campaign)
Dr. Sidney Farber, President, American Cancer Society, Boston
General James Gavin, Chairman of the Board, Arthur D. Little, Inc., Boston
Dr. R. Lee Clark, Director, M. D. Anderson Institute, Houston
General Alfred M. Gruenther, Former President, American Red Cross, Washington, D. C. (Member, President's Commission on
Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke)
Dr. Arthur Kornberg, Chairman, Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine
Walter Reuther, President, United Auto Workers, Detroit
Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Professor of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine
Leonard Goldenson, President, American Broadcasting Company, New York. (Trustee, Children's Cancer Research Foundation,
Dr. Wendell M. Stanley, Virus Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley
Emerson Foote, Chairman, Campaign to Check the Population Explosion, New York. (Former Chairman, National Interagency Council
on Smoking and Health)
Dr. Sol Spiegelman, Institute of Cancer Research, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York
Jay Stratton, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Ford Foundation, New York. (Former President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
former Chairman of Committee on Undersea Research and Development)
Dr. Charles W. Mayo II, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Dr. Howard A. Rusk, Contributing Editor, The New York Times
Thomas J. Watson, Jr., Chairman of the Board of International Business Machines. (Member, Board of Trustees, Sloan-Kettering
Institute for Cancer Research, New York)
Dr. Jonas Salk, Salk Institute, La Jolla, California. (Discoverer of Salk vaccine; now interested in viral factors in cancer
Dr. Frederick Seitz, President of Rockefeller University, New York
Dr. James Grace, Director, Roswell Park Memorial Institute for Cancer Research, Buffalo, New York
J. B. Fisk, President, Bell Telephone Labs, Murray Hill, New Jersey
Dr. Solomon Garb, Professor of Pharmacology, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Columbia, Missouri
Emanuel R. Piore, Vice President and Chief Scientist, International Business Machines. (Member, Board of Trustees, Sloan-Kettering
Institute for Cancer Research, New York)
Dr. Cecil L. Wittson, President, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha
Dr. Paul B. Cornely, President, American Public Health Association, Washington, D.C.
Dr. Rashi Fein, Economist and Manpower Expert, Boston. (Formerly with Council of Economic Advisors, Brookings Institute, etc.
Administrative Director -- Stephen J. Ackerman, Associate Director, Rehabilitation Services Administration; Lawyer. (Former
staff director, President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer and Stroke)
Writer -- Horace Ogden, U. S. Public Health Service. (Former chief writer, President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer