Through cutting-edge scholarship, a high-profile conference, and impactful clinical legal work, the Solomon Center works to advance the policy dialogue around cancer care and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. 

A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons from a 50 Year War

Just before noon on December 23, 1971, President Richard Nixon—in the company of 137 assembled guests hailing from the most powerful precincts of government, science, industry, and advocacy—signed the National Cancer Act (later to be called the “War on Cancer Act”) and declared “a national commitment for the conquest of cancer”.

As we mark the 50th anniversary of its landmark signing, Solomon Center Faculty Director Abbe Gluck has co-edited a pathbreaking volume assessing five decades of the policy, politics, and law of cancer. A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons from a 50 Year War is co-edited by Dr. Charlie Fuchs, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Product Development for Oncology and Hematology at Roche and Genentech, and former Director of Yale Cancer Center.

The essays in A New Deal for Cancer address many of the most pressing issues defining cancer today, written by leading experts in the field. A special introduction by Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, sets the stage for the wide-ranging contributions that follow. Cancer disparities across race and other factors are analyzed by Otis Brawley (former Chief Medical and Scientific Officer as well as former Executive Vice President of the American Cancer Society), Blase Polite, and others. The vital role played by patient advocates—whether in legislating change or supporting cutting-edge research through major advocacy organizations like Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)—is described by Sherry Lansing (co-founder of SU2C) and Nancy Goodman (founder of Kids v Cancer).

The legal and regulatory challenges of data gathering in precision medicine, as well as the promise of breakthrough treatments more broadly, are illuminated by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Charles Sawyers, David Solit, and others. Turning to the business of cancer, Ed Benz (former CEO of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), Zeke Emanuel, Cary Gross, Stacie Dusetzina, and Barbara McAneny (former president of the American Medical Association) provide invaluable insights into the way cancer is paid for, the vital role of local providers, and related topics. Government’s impact on cancer—whether through the president and Congress to the states and regulatory agencies like the FDA—is incisively discussed by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Chair of the House Appropriations Committee), Greg Simon (Executive Director of the Obama Administration’s Cancer Moonshot Task Force), Gideon Blumenthal (former Deputy Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence), and others. And the sea-change practitioners have experienced in recent decades is vividly described by Neal Meropol and Eric Winer (incoming director of Yale Cancer Center).

The policy, political, and regulatory obstacles against—and levers for—fighting cancer have often been overlooked. A New Deal for Cancer fills that gap.

Contributors include: 

  • Erin Aakhus (Associate Director, Hematology Oncology Fellowship Program and Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Penn Medicine)
  • Ed Benz (CEO Emeritus and former president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School)
  • Gideon Blumenthal (Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs for Oncology at Merck and former Deputy Director of the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence)
  • Otis Brawley (Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Oncology and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and former Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the American Cancer Society)
  • Rosa DeLauro (United States congresswoman for Connecticut’s 3rd Congressional District and House Appropriations Committee Chair)
  • Nicole Deziel (Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Environmental Health Sciences), Yale School of Medicine)
  • Stacie Dusetzina (Associate Professor of Health Policy and Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
  • Ezekiel Emanuel (the Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor, and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania)
  • Shelagh Foster (Director of Policy Development, American Society for Clinical Oncology)
  • Abigail Friedman (Associate Professor of Public Health (Health Policy), Yale School of Medicine)
  • Charles Fuchs (Senior Vice President and Global Head of Product Development for Oncology and Hematology at Roche and Genentech, and former Director of Yale Cancer Center as well as former Physician-in-Chief of Smilow Cancer Hospital)
  • Abbe Gluck (Alfred M. Rankin Professor of Law and founding Faculty Director of the Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School; Professor of Internal Medicine (General Medicine), Yale School of Medicine)
  • Nancy Goodman (Founder and Executive Director, Kids v Cancer)
  • Cary Gross (Professor of Medicine (General Medicine) and Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) as well as Director of the National Clinician Scholars Program at Yale School of Medicine)
  • Melinda Irwin (Associate Director (Population Sciences), and Co-Program Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control at Yale Cancer Center)
  • Barbara McAneny (Immediate Past President of the American Medical Association and founder and CEO of the New Mexico Cancer Center)
  • Neal Meropol (Vice President, Head of Medical and Scientific Affairs, Flatiron Health)
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee (Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies)
  • Arjun Mody (former Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy Fellow)
  • Matthew Nguyen (Racial justice attorney, policy advocate, and educator)
  • Linda Niccolai (Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases), Yale School of Medicine; Director, HPV Working Group at Yale)
  • Randy Oyer (Medical Director of the Oncology Program at Lancaster General Hospital)
  • Blase Polite (Associate Professor of Medicine; Deputy Section Chief for Clinical Operations and Executive Medical Director for Cancer Accountable Care at the University of Chicago)
  • Allison Rabkin Golden (former Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy Fellow)
  • Eugene Rusyn (Senior Fellow, Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy)
  • Charles Sawyers (Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Chair of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
  • Richard Schilsky (former Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, American Society for Clinical Oncology)
  • Deborah Schrag (Chair, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
  • Greg Simon (Former President of the Biden Cancer Initiative at the Biden Foundation; former Executive Director of the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force)
  • David Solit (Director, Marie-Josée & Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
  • Lindsay Wiley (Professor of Law and Director, Health Law and Policy Program at American University Washington College of Law)
  • Eric Winer (Incoming Director of the Yale Cancer Center and current Chief Clinical Strategy Officer, Chief of the Division of Women’s Cancers, and Director of the Breast Oncology Program in the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
  • Robin Yabroff (Senior Scientific Director, Health Services Research, American Cancer Society)

The Policy, Politics & Law of Cancer Conference

On February 8-9, 2018, The Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy at Yale Law School, in collaboration with Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center, held a major interdisciplinary conference addressing topics at the cutting edge of cancer policy.  This event brought together leading figures in the worlds of cancer care, research, regulation, and policymaking to assess the current state of cancer policy and discuss ways in which law can influence its development. 

Speakers examined the role Washington, D.C. plays in cancer research and treatment—through politics, legislation, and lobbying as well as by incentivizing and protecting research—and the ways cancer policy is shaped outside the federal government, including through private entities such as cancer centers and insurance companies, and through state governments.  The conference addressed special challenges in drug development and pricing as well as how cutting-edge advances in cancer treatment—including precision medicine, immunotherapy, and improvements in the genetic profiling of tumors—interface with existing and proposed government regulations.  Speakers also considered how disparities and inequalities impact cancer research, regulation, and treatment.


Palliative Care Medical-Legal Partnership at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital

Beyond our scholarly focus on the law and policy of cancer, the Solomon Center coordinates a Palliative Care Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) to provide civil legal services to palliative care and cancer patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital (YNHH).

Students provide services within the health clinic setting, working closely with the social work team at Smilow to identify patients nearing the end of their life who need assistance to get their affairs in order. 

Under the supervision of Rebecca Iannantuoni, a partner at Day Pitney LLP, a Connecticut law firm that handles estate-planning matters,  students conduct intake interviews with clients and draft desired documents, such as wills, power-of-attorney agreements, and advanced health care directives, and they also work on real-estate transactions and guardianship issues.