Q & A with Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell

Mon, 08/23/2010 - 1:34pm
Arizona State University

Nobel laureate Lee Hartwell, chief scientist at the ASU Biodesign Institutes Center for Sustainable Health, chatted with Katherine Hobson of the Wall Street Journal Health Blog about his recent retirement and new role as director emeritus.

Hartwell has led the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for 13 years. He says he's not going to have a lot of free time after his retirement, but rather he will be involved in trying to solve some interesting problems such as developing more sensitive diagnostics.

"I think the major opportunity to reduce health care costs will come from better diagnostics," he said. "On one hand, we treat people with therapeutics that are ineffective, so theres an opportunity to better match a person with the best treatment. And we often end up treating late-stage disease, when people are relatively insusceptible to therapeutics. If we could develop more sensitive diagnostics [to find things earlier], it would have an enormous impact on medicine."

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