Media Upset Over Cancer Research Funding Sources

Cornell University cancer research has been found guilty ... by association that is.

A March 26 New York Times story revealed an organization called the Foundation for Lung Cancer: Early Detection, Prevention & Treatment had research financed by a company called the Vector Group (NYSE:VGR), parent of the Liggett Group, a cigarette manufacturer. Even though the research appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2006, the Times maintained that funding from a cigarette manufacturer discredited the study - not any sort of flaw in the science.

"It sounded promising - a study published two years ago in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine claimed that an annual CT [computed tomography] scan could detect lung cancer early enough to extend a patient's life by at least ten years - a remarkable survival rate for such a deadly disease," CBS correspondent Maggie Rodriguez said on the March 27 "Early Show."

Neither Rodriguez nor The New York Times pointed to specific problems with the study's findings. It's guilt by association for Dr. Claudia Henschke of Weill Cornell Medical College, the president of the foundation.

Henschke's study, published in 2006, reported 80 percent of lung cancer deaths could be prevented through widespread use of CT scans. According to the Times article, Henschke said the source of the study's funding could have been easily found with a simple Internet search.

Although there is "outrage," according to the Times, Henschke's study has been "embraced by many lung-cancer advocacy organizations, which have pushed for legislation in California, New York and Massachusetts to create trust funds to pay for lung cancer screening."