Altman, Lawrence K. "Flawed Breast Cancer Study Faces Cutoff of Financing," New York

 

Altman, Lawrence K. "Flawed Breast Cancer Study Faces Cutoff of Financing," New York
Times, 4 May 1994, p. A18.

Just the other day the University of Pittsburgh announced plans to make changes in its operation
of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. However, the University proposed
that the revised structure be directed, again, by Dr. Bernard Fisher, recently removed from the
directorship by the National Cancer Institute. Now the cancer institute has objected to the
appointment of Carol Redmond, chief statistician, and Bernard Fisher as director.

NCI suggests that the reappointment of the two "could raise grave concerns about the integrity
and judgment' of the leadership of the breast cancer students, which needs to be of the ‘highest
integrity.'" A letter from NCI adds, "‘It may be difficult or impossible for the N.C.I. to provide
continued funding for the referenced cooperative agreements unless these matters are resolved to
the N.C.I.'s satisfaction.

"The cancer institute pays the University of Pittsburgh about $16 million a year to coordinate
studies on breast and colon cancer that are carried out at 485 hospitals in the United States and
Canada. About $11.5 million is for the costs of the research, while the remainder is for the
university's administrative costs."

It is not clear whether Redmond or Fisher will be entirely excluded from the project. Clearly
Pittsburgh wants them to continue in some capacity on the project.

"Responding to demand from Federal officials, the University of Pittsburgh has begun to set up a
panel of three experts to decide if a full investigation of possible misconduct by Dr. Fisher and
Dr. Redmond is warranted. The panel members will come from outside the university and will
represent different disciplines... No panel member has been chosen yet."