The Big Question with Dr. Robert Weinberg: Cancer Research

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Dr. Robert Weinberg is a cancer researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Founding Member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Weinberg lab is known for its discoveries of the first human oncogene – the ras oncogene that causes normal cells to form tumors, and the isolation of the first known tumor suppressor gene – the Rb gene.

Dr. Weinberg has been the recipient of numerous awards including the National Science Foundation National Medal of Science, the Keio Foundation Prize, and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

What is the biggest question facing your field?

In the larger field of cancer research, the most challenging question is how to respond to the clinical observations, repeated hundreds of thousands of times, that tumors that initially respond to one or another anti-cancer therapy rapidly develop resistance to this therapy and proceed to threaten the life of the cancer patient.

Why is it significant?

Since 1971, when Pres. Nixon declared the War on Cancer, we have learned an enormous amount about the causes of various types of human cancer. However, these truly extraordinary discoveries have not yet translated into comparable advances in treating the great majority of human cancers.

Where is the answer likely to come from?

The answers may well come from further research into the complex factors that propel the proliferation of individual human cancer cells and the use of modern bioinformatics in integrating the associated data to provide insights into some of the critical vulnerabilities of various types of human cancer cells.

For more information about Dr. Weinberg and his research, visit the Weinberg Lab page.


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