cover image The Truth in Small Doses: Why We're Losing the War on Cancer and How to Win It

The Truth in Small Doses: Why We're Losing the War on Cancer and How to Win It

Clifton Leaf. Simon & Schuster, $27 (480) ISBN 978-1-4767-3998-4

Former Fortune editor Leaf dissects years of cancer death rates to reveal the reality of the fight against cancer; in over 40 years, and despite $16 billion per year spent on drug development and other research, there has been little change in individual cancer death rates. Rather than pursuing preemption, which was understood as the answer even in the early 1970s, "[o]ur current system is designed not to solve problems, but to produce studies." Researchers face many difficulties, from obtaining funding or tissue samples to low enrollment for clinical trials. As an observer and a cancer survivor, Leaf proposes that scientists be freed from the stifling research culture by aligning funding with improved goals, simplifying management, and consolidating laboratory capabilities and efforts. Through flowing prose Leaf delivers, alongside facts and data, stories on personalities involved in research, the fascinating process of solving an unusual and highly deadly cancer in Africa, and the heartbreaking realities of cancer treatment in children today. Leaf's extensively investigated treatise will resonate with researchers and patients frustrated by the bureaucratic woes he delineates. Public policy makers, grant reviewers, and pharmaceutical researchers alike must consider Leaf's indictment and proposed solutions. (July)