Cancer Research Versus Care: Just How Different Are the Goals?

Maurie Markman, MD
Published: Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019
Maurie Markman, MD, editor in chief, is president of Medicine and Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and clinical professor of medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Maurie Markman, MD

An unavoidable tension exists between the roles of a treating oncologist and an investigator when a patient is asked to participate in a clinical research study. This state of affairs is certainly not a recent development. In his 1982 autobiography, Morris Abram, a civil rights lawyer who had leukemia, described this conflict during his care by a prominent clinical cancer investigator.1 During an intense discussion with Mr Abram and his daughter regarding his potential participation in an experimental trial, the physician commented, “My duty is to advise. You must bear in mind that I am not your father’s physician; I am an investigator.”
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