WATCH NOW: The Blind Men and the Elephant - Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

Apr 1, 2015

The launch of the "war on cancer" by President Nixon in 1971 is recalled. While rapid strides were made in understanding cancer, the research produced few advancements in treatment until the late 1990s.

A scientist labels each protein in the radio nucleotide sequence of human genes to create a unique DNA profile.
Credit Courtesy of © Dan McCoy - Rainbow/Science Faction/Corbis / PBS

This episode picks up the story in the wake of the declaration of a “war on cancer” by Richard Nixon in 1971 and the search for a cure. In the lab, rapid progress is made in understanding the essential nature of the cancer cell, leading to the revolutionary discovery of the genetic basis of cancer, but few new therapies become available.