The New York Times
reports that the whistleblowing of a former vice president of a research hospital in Urbana, Ill., has highlighted some questionable research practices at certain community cancer research sites.
The Times examines the Carle Foundation Hospital where a vice president for research questioned the validity of federally sponsored cancer experiments and was fired. "Because the patients at community centers tend to be older, sicker, less affluent and generally more diverse than those treated at big academic medical centers, they are considered more representative of the national population. So, over the years, the community centers have played important roles in developing new treatments for breast, lung and prostate cancer." If Carle is any indication, however, these sites may not be applying the best practices in researching cancer treatments. The vice president — and a federal audit — found deficiencies in 12 of 29 experiments at Carle, endangering and/or skewing the results of several studies (Wilson, 10/22).