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Letter: Don’t dismiss cancer ‘moon shot’

Job growth in NYC is led, in part,

Job growth in NYC is led, in part, by the health care sector. Credit: iStock

I read “Cancer ‘moon shot’ a real long shot” [Opinion, Feb. 15] by Dr. Vinay Prasad and found it troubling. He enumerates real and possible moon shot objectives and dismisses each as insignificant. He concludes the cure for cancer will likely be discovered by serendipity.

As a cancer patient, I prefer to bet my life on the best doctors doing research in the best hospitals.

Prasad compares the Food and Drug Administration’s accelerated approval of drugs or drug combinations to buying a new stopwatch to increase your speed. Tell that to a man dying of cancer when a cure is in the FDA pipeline.

He writes that sharing big data is fraught with limits. Do we do away with statistics because errors can be made by not understanding the limits?

The immunotherapy rocket has already taken off. Yes, but it has not landed. A billion dollars is a drop in the federal budget, but part of it could be a significant boost to immunotherapy being investigated by cancer centers.

Increasing access to clinical trials is a modest step. What if a modest step leads to a serendipitous cure?

Serendipity can be a clinical trial result.

Marvin Kefer, Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is a retired system engineer and an NYU Langone Medical Center patient for pancreatic cancer.