DNA pioneer James Watson calls Obama’s cancer moonshot initiative ‘crap’

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James Watson, whose 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA with Francis Crick launched the revolution in molecular biology…

Watson spoke to STAT at the [American Academy of Arts and Sciences] and by phone. Here are excerpts from those conversations and from his remarks at the birthday bash:

On the cancer moonshot announced this year by President Obama:


The depressing thing about the “cancer moonshot” is that it’s the same old people getting together, forming committees, and the same old ideas, and it’s all crap…

On the prospects of curing cancer:

Everyone wants to sequence DNA [to treat cancer], but I don’t think that will help you cure late-stage cancer, because the mutations in metastatic cancer are not the same as those that started the cancer.

On his own anticancer regimen:


I take metformin [a widely used diabetes drug] and aspirin; I try not to eat too much sugar, and I exercise. Put all together, they probably reduce my cancer risk 50 percent.

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