5. Genes and cancer

In his State of the Union address in January 1971, President Richard Nixon announced his intention to request an appropriation of $100 million “to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer, and I will ask later for whatever additional funds can effectively be used. The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal.”1

On December 23, 1971, President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into law, declaring, “I hope in the years ahead we will look back on this action today as the most significant action taken during my administration.” ...

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