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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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the net of it, and there were not enough laymen to speak up and help me to speak up, to say that basic research is fine but unless it's brought to people they aren't forever going to get this money to do it.

Q:

Don't they have any curiosity to see whether it's useful?

Lasker:

No, they only think that they want their work protected, and if there should be some clinical payoffs, then maybe that would result in their work being shut down because it would be considered that the problem was solved. This is human nature. It's just unfortunately true. And of course surgeons don't want to have any real fast results because that would mean a reduction in the need for surgery. What could be more terrible? You know, most of surgery is related to either benign or malignant growths, or at least a great part of it is, isn't it? You know, self-interest in these things is not far below the surface.

Q:

That's hard to conceive of it being that way.

Lasker:

It is hard to conceive of it, and it took me years and years to face it, but I have to face it because it's the only explanation. It's like the president of a tobacco company whom I know who says that cigarettes do no harm.

Q:

It's a wonder you haven't become bitter about the whole thing.



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