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New England Journal Call For Full Disclosure


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Editors of New England Journal Call For Full Disclosure of Author's Ties - Latest Find Links Lung Cancer Study to Major Tobacco CompanyApril 24, 2008 - 12:52 AM

Category: Defective & Dangerous Products

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Posted by: Mike Ferrara

The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 2006 published an article on lung cancer that found a majority of stage I lung cancers treated after their detection by CT screening had a favorable prognosis. One of the sponsors of the study was the "Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention and Treatment" The editors went on to say: "We recently learned that this foundation was headed by the principal investigator of the 2006 study, that it was housed at her academic institution, and that the only contributor during most of its existence was the Vector Group, the parent company of Liggett, a major tobacco company. We and our readers were surprised to learn that the source of the funding of the charitable foundation was, in fact, a large corporation that could have an interest in the study results."

The editors in an appropriate broad swipe at this unscrupulous conduct said: "We believe that it is important that the ultimate source of funding be made clear to the Journal's readers. Second, it is appropriate to ask whether a study on clinical outcomes in lung cancer should be directly underwritten in part by the tobacco industry. Given the enormous burden of smoking-related illness and the ongoing sale of cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, one might question the advisability of research entities accepting funding from tobacco companies.

The editors of this prestigious journal are to be commended for bringing this situation to light. Doctors who rely on these articles are entitled to know what is being bought and paid for by the tobacco industry. It is so outrageous that the Medical Society needs to step in and conduct a thorough investigation into how this happened, how many other times it has happened, and how to prevent it from happening again. The public deserves no less.

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The hype over this alleged failure of the ELCAP trial researchers to divulge that a tobacco company paid for part of the study ignores entirely that there is no apparent gain to either the company or the researchers (headed by the prestigious Claudia Henschke, author of Lung Cancer: Myths, Facts, Choices and Hope).

At onctalk.com, Dr. West addresses the subject here:


Among Dr. West's comments are the following:

And why would the tobacco industry have a stake in this?

Presumably, if people felt reassured that we can detect lung cancer early enough to cure it most of the time, people would feel less of a compulsion to stop smoking, or maybe even pick it up as a habit.


It seems far more likely to me that the insurance companies and HMOs are fanning these flames... after all, CT scan screening might lengthen survival for lung cancer patients (by early diagnosis and treatment), but would it be "cost effective?"



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Corrigendum, Nature Clinical Practice Oncology (2008) 5, 297 doi:10.1038/ncponc1133

CT screening for lung cancer is justified

Claudia I Henschke

Nature Clinical Practice Oncology (2007) 4: 440–441 [doi]

In the Viewpoint article by Claudia Henschke published in the August 2007 issue of Nature Clinical Practice Oncology [re efficacy of CT Screening for Lung Cancer], it was not disclosed at the time of publication that the author is a co-inventor on pending patents owned and filed by Cornell Research Foundation (CRF), a subsidiary of Cornell University, which are non-exclusively licensed to General Electric for technology in general diagnostic use involving computer-aided diagnostic methods, including measurement of nodules. A portion of these royalties is distributed to Dr Henschke and other coinventors pursuant to Cornell policy, which in turn is consistent with the Bayh–Dole Act. None of these technologies were required in performing any of the screenings described in the article nor was the technology discussed.

© 2008 Nature Publishing Group – partner of AGORA, HINARI, CrossRef and COUNTER

Source: http://www.nature.com/ncponc/journal/v5 ... c1133.html

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