Thursday, April 03, 2008

This Cancer Study Funded by… A Cigarette Company?

A 2006 Cornell study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found lung cancer deaths could be slashed 80 percent by CT scans. Such probes scan for tiny tumors before they grow into big problems. Makes sense. But what the study didn't mention is that the study was underwritten by a tobacco company, reports TIME magazine.

So who cares? Science is science, right? Kind of. Sometimes, when corporate donations fund a study, "the companies have input into how the trial is designed, and what clinical endpoint it will measure --a huge factor in the trial's outcome."

Whether or not tobacco money tainted the Cornell study results is being put to the test. At present, a National Cancer Institute study is examining whether or not regular CT scans can reduce the risk of lung cancer. Study results are due in 2010.

No matter what the outcome, "editors may have to begin asking for records detailing how a study was funded," suggests TIME. "In the end, that may be just as important as analyzing the study itself."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.