In April, Harold Varmus, Nobel Prize laureate for the discovery of oncogenes and former director of the National Institutes of Health, commented in Science on the transformation of oncology. He noted that, in the 1960s, oncology was largely separated from the rest of medicine, oftentimes into physically separate hospitals. It was a field that had stagnated, relying on morphologic description of tumors and resigned to mostly minimally effective treatments for conditions that were considered hopeless.

Imagine the transformation that has occurred in oncology from then to now, with vaccines to prevent cancer, biomarkers and screens for early cancer diagnosis. These are arguably the most sophisticated treatments in the family of medicine with personalized approaches based on rapid genetic analysis of the cancer. Oncology is a vibrant specialty, offering hope where none had existed and generating new knowledge that...

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