As the year comes to a close, I would like to draw your attention to an inspirational article published in the Wall Street Journal earlier this year. The article pays tribute to an icon of modern day science whose name graces the blackboards (do they even use those anymore these days?) of pretty much all first year genetic classrooms across the nation.
James Watson, the man who discovered the DNA double helix, continues to inspire us with his firm belief that cancer can be conquered in his lifetime. According to the Wall Street Journal:
Although Dr. Watson says leaders should think in the long term, he is critical of those who say we might find a cure for cancer in another 10 to 20 years. “If you say we can get somewhere in 10 to 20 years, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be saying 20 to 40, except then people would just give up hope. So 10 to 20 still maintains hope, but why not five to 10?” He adds that there’s no reason we shouldn’t know all of the genetic causes of major cancers in another few years.
In the article, Watson maintains that bureaucracy and red tape, not scientific technology, are the main obstacles to finding a cure.
See A Geneticist’s Cancer Crusade for further reading.
Whether or not you agree with Watson’s position, his message should be an inspiration for all of us to continue doing the important work we do, helping discover nature’s beauty and awesomeness.
Wishing the entire American Biotechnologist community a happy, healthy and inspirational 2011!