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Obama Optimistic in Final SOTU; Iran Frees 10 Detained U.S. Navy Sailors; One Detained in Turkey over Istanbul Blast; The Good and the Bad of Falling Oil Prices; Trained to Kill for ISIS; Full "El Chapo" Interview Released; Obama Proposes New Effort to Cure Cancer. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired January 13, 2016 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN HOST (voice-over): Hi, there, everyone, welcome to the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Thanks so much for joining us this hour. I'm Robyn
Curnow at the CNN Center.
Well, the U.S. president struck a tone of optimism at his final State of the Union address Tuesday while taking on his adversaries.
Barack Obama denounced what he called "political hot air," accused some of his critics of "peddling fiction" on the economy and lamented the
antagonism between the political parties. White House correspondent Michelle Kosinski has more on the president's legacy speech.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President of the United States.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Entering the Capitol for his final State of the Union address, President Obama was met with such
energy, it took a good five minutes to get started.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's bring this to order here.
For this final one, I'm going to try to make it a little shorter.
OBAMA: I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.
OBAMA: I've been there.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): He acknowledged the difficulties he's faced.
OBAMA: We won't agree on health care any time soon.
OBAMA: But --
OBAMA: Oh, applause back there.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): But wasted no time in repeatedly, sharply digging Republican candidates for their criticism.
OBAMA: Anyone claiming that America's economy is in decline is peddling fiction. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting
stronger and America getting weaker.
And our answer needs to be more than tough talk, more calls to carpet bomb civilians. That make work as a TV sound bite but it doesn't pass muster on
the world stage.
And we need to reject any politics, any politics that targets people because of race or religion.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): A sentiment that, interestingly, was echoed in the Republican rebuttal by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.
NIKKI HALEY, GOVERNOR OF SOUTH CAROLINA: During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Donald Trump tweeted that the president's speech was "boring, slow, lethargic."
Senator Ted Cruz didn't attend it but said this:
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: I will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): One of President Obama's goals here was optimism, which lately the White House uses to try to build a contrast with how they
see the Republican field.
OBAMA: Sixty years ago when the Russians beat us into space, we didn't deny Sputnik was up there.
OBAMA: We didn't argue about the science or shrink our research and development budget, we built a space program almost overnight. And 12
years later, we were walking on the moon.
OBAMA: That spirit of discovery is in our DNA.
Let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): That statement brought both sides of the aisle to its feet in a room filled with guests as diverse as a Syrian refugee, nuns
suing the administration over ObamaCare, American Muslims and Kim Davis, the president conceding that the politics remains a barrier.
OBAMA: It's one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better.
KOSINSKI (voice-over): Calling on individual Americans to set aside cynicism and vote.
OBAMA: Because I believe in you, the American people, and that's why I understand here as confident as I have ever been that the state of our
union is strong. Thank you.
CURNOW: Michelle Kosinski there, reporting on one of U.S. President Barack Obama's last big speeches.
Well, now to the release of 10 American sailors by Iran. They were freed a day after Iran detained their two small U.S. Navy boats. Iranian media
broadcast images of the nine men and one woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): There they are there. The sailors were transferred to the warship, U.S. Anzio, for medical checks. Their vessels had strayed
into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday.
Iranian media say the Revolutionary Guard questioned the sailors and determined it was by accident.
And U.S. secretary of state John Kerry is praising Iran for what he calls a quick resolution of the incident. In a statement, he said, "That this
issue was resolved peacefully and efficiently is a testament to the critical role diplomacy plays in keeping our country safe, secure and
Well, for more on this I want to bring in CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson here in our London bureau.
Hi, there, Nic. You heard President Obama there, trying to lay out his legacy.
What does this --
CURNOW: -- incident tell us about the Iran-U.S. relationship right now?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Tells us it's improving. The speed with which this was resolved clearly shows us that.
Their foreign minister, Javad Zarif, responding or reciprocating, if you will, to what Secretary Kerry had to say, saying that dialogue and respect,
not threats and impetuousness, is what help resolved this swiftly.
A clear reference to the fact that he and Secretary Kerry got on the phone together, talked about this. Ahead of the nuclear negotiations, they
didn't have that kind of relationship.
Also we can see that later, fairly soon in the coming days, Iran expects the International Atomic Energy Agency to sign off on Iran's compliance
with that nuclear deal. Therefore, billions of dollars of Iran's frozen assets are at stake here. So I think that weighs heavily on the situation
from an Iranian perspective.
It was interesting what the Revolutionary Guard had to say. They, of course, had hold of those 10 sailors. They have said, subsequent to the
sailors' release, that they, meaning the 10 sailors, offered an apology.
I think the way that this all was resolved in 24 hours and the Iranians saying that it was a failure of the navigation system that the American
sailors were using clearly indicates that this is an -- a time of better cooperation between these two countries.
CURNOW: And evolution perhaps.
Let's talk about the Revolutionary Guard. Many American and Middle Eastern officials have been concerned, have been worried that this hardline aspect
of the Iranian government has been looking out to perhaps embarrass or undermine the president and the foreign minister.
There have been other incidents in similar waters in previous years.
Is this also perhaps an indication of a coming together or at least a closening domestically within Iran?
ROBERTSON: That's really hard to judge. The billions of dollars in frozen assets is a huge carrot for a hardliner or a moderate in this situation.
Zarif, the moderate, if you will, has political capital invested in this.
The hardliners have cash dollars, a lot of money at stake in all of this. Britain had 15 of its sailors captured by the Iranians back in 2007. It
took them 13 days to get them free. This, with the American sailors has been a little over 24 hours. So by that measure, it is pretty fast.
CURNOW: OK. Nic Robertson, as always, thanks so much for your analysis.
Moving on, authorities in Turkey have detained one person in connection with a deadly suicide bombing in the heart of Istanbul's tourist district.
Turkish media says dozens of others with suspected ISIS links are also in custody. Germany now confirms 10 of its citizens died in that blast.
Well, let's bring in our Arwa Damon. She's at the scene in Istanbul.
Hi, there, Arwa.
What else are authorities saying?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Robyn, we are in that historic district of Istanbul. And you can hear the calls of prayer
in the background. This is what we know at this stage.
Turkish officials are now confirming that this individual, who we already knew was a Syrian national, crossed into Turkey from Syria about a week ago
and registered for refugee status and was fingerprinted during that entire process.
But this was not someone whose name was known to Turkish intelligence or to any of the other foreign intelligence agencies that are sharing information
with Turkish authorities.
There was that massive country-wide sweep that was spanning seven provinces that you mentioned there, where around 68 people were detained. Among
them, three Russian nationals. These are people who are either suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations or are members of terrorist
It is worth mentioning that Turkey fairly regularly does conduct these massive sweeps. And in fact, in the week leading up to Tuesday's attack,
according to the minister of interior, some 220 people with suspected ties to ISIS were also detained.
This shows that just how vulnerable Turkey is at this very critical juncture because despite the fact that there has been a crackdown along the
border, that Turkey-Syria border, that is heavily porous, despite the fact there are around 36,000, 38,000 people on a no-fly list from 100 different
countries, this country remains very vulnerable to these types of attacks.
In fact, one Turkish official that CNN spoke to pointed out this reality, saying that as long as there was a training ground for an organization like
ISIS right across the border, it was going to continue to pose a threat, not just to Turkey but also beyond -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Indeed, some security experts warning about possibly --
CURNOW: -- hundreds of ISIS cells within Turkey.
Just let's talk about the victims, those who survived. I see a wire coming through, that the Turkish prime minister and the German interior minister
have visited the wounded in hospital.
What more do we know about them?
DAMON: The vast majority of the wounded are foreign nationals as well. Most of them German, too. It does seem as if this attacker saw the group
of German tourists as a target of opportunity. There is no indication at this stage that Germany itself, Germans themselves, were deliberately
The two officials also then visited the scene of the attack. The German interior minister was also quick to say in a press conference that, at this
stage, Germany would not be telling its nationals not to visit Turkey, that they would not allow this type of a terrorist attack to tarnish the
relations between the two countries or to even make Germans feel as if they shouldn't come to Turkey but if they were to come that they should be
paying very careful attention.
Germany, of course, understandably shocked at what took place. This is the deadliest attack killing of German nationals in the last decade plus or so.
And it's not just Germany that's reeling from this.
Turkey is as well. And a lot of Turks that we've been talking to are not just expressing anger at what happened, but there's also this deep sense of
sorrow and frustration because there is a growing realization that the situation in Turkey is potentially going to be even further destabilized
with all of these various different terrorist organizations that do operate here, with all these various different potentially destabilizing fault
lines that are at play.
So it's a very difficult time, not just for Turkey but, of course, for all of those who lost loved ones.
CURNOW: Indeed. And as you're standing there in that magnificent backdrop where that attack took place, just underscoring why it still is such an
attractive tourist opportunity, the crossing of East and West, the ancient joys and jewels of Constantinople. I think that can't be lost as we report
there. Thanks so much, Arwa Damon there in Istanbul.
Well, coming up at the INTERNATIONAL DESK, sure, it's costing us less to fill up but the low price of oil is causing all kinds of problems in the
global economy and there are some shocking new predictions at just how low it might go.
CURNOW: And we're back. Welcome. I'm Robyn Curnow. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. And it's 14 minutes past the hour.
Now the price of oil is stabilizing a bit after a brief dip --
CURNOW: -- below $30 a barrel. Here's a look at the prices right now. They are rallying. But there are some shocking predictions as to how low
the price could go.
Maggie Lake is, of course, watching all of this, joins us from New York.
This stabilization, this rally that we're seeing now is considered temporary. I mean, there are real concerns this volatility of oil is not
So how low -- the big question -- can it go?
MAGGIE LAKE, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I don't think anyone's terribly confident, Robyn. The only thing we do know is that 2016 does seem like it
is going to be the year of volatility.
We are seeing this bounce. A lot of people felt the speed of the selloff was maybe overdone. We were dropped 6 percent at one point, getting to
those 12-year lows. So you are seeing it bounce back and stabilize.
But we had a lot of the big major international banks coming out yesterday, saying, listen -- and over the weekend, really some of them before that,
saying, $20 a barrel is entirely possible here. We're talking about Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citibank, Bank of America. We also had
Standard Chartered. The British bank saying they think $10 is possible.
One thing to keep in mind, we've talked about some of the fundamentals that are pushing oil prices lower -- oversupply, division within OPEC and surge
of the Chinese economy slowing.
Some of these more extreme ends, bottoms, predictions are based on the fact that maybe at some point oil is going to detach from fundamentals and it
just becomes a momentum trade, it trades as a financial asset. People see a one-way bet and they jump on because they're going to make money if they
come in and it's down another day.
So you get that extra push that's adding to the volatility. So not everyone is saying $20 is justified or that it's going to stay there, but
everyone's sort of acknowledging that we don't really know what is going to happen and how low this could go -- Robyn.
CURNOW: Now as the global banks were not just warning, making these dire forecasts about oil but also about stocks. And then also now we're seeing
24 hours later them generally moving in the other direction.
What do you make of that?
LAKE: Which is why we shouldn't pay any attention to one particular forecast. And you're right. A lot of press around Royal Bank of Scotland,
coming out and saying sell everything, liquidate. They're anticipating a lot of dislocation and turmoil in financial markets and feeling a lot like
-- more like 2008 and that you want to preserve your capital.
A lot of people immediately yesterday coming out and saying that really feels overblown, that level of panic, not justified. JPMorgan, on the
other hand, recently also much more subdued with it, but saying listen, buy -- if the market starts going up, you want to sell any of these gains and
equities. It just feels like we are in for a tough time.
We had futures this morning pointing to a triple-digit gain for the Dow. We are now looking like we're right now crossing into negative territory.
So it's that turmoil. And anytime I talk to investors, some of them feel actually pretty good about the U.S. economy. They're not -- they don't
think that China's falling into recession.
But when you ask them if it's a time to buy right now, they say no. They just don't want to step into this trend. They feel like markets need to
find a natural bottom before you want to get in there and be aggressive. So there's a lot of churn underneath these levels. And I think we can
take away, Robyn, all of it, that you got to know your own portfolio and keep an eye on the longer term, not get caught up too much in some of the
CURNOW: And that's always good advice, isn't it, keeping an eye on the numbers for us, Maggie Lake, thanks so much.
Well, still ahead here at the INTERNATIONAL DESK on CNN, abducted from their families and forced to fight for ISIS. CNN gets an exclusive look at
the grim reality behind the group's child soldiers, an important report. That's coming up next.
CURNOW: Some good news out of Hong Kong. Wildlife activists are celebrating a major victory. Hong Kong has announced it's phasing out the
sale of ivory. The city already bans the import and export of ivory. But hundreds of shops are allowed to sell ivory goods that were acquired before
Our Ivan Watson reports from Hong Kong.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wildlife conservationists are applauding an announcement by the Hong Kong city
government that it will ban the legal trade of ivory in this island city. The announcement was made during an annual policy speech by the city's
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- would take steps to ban totally the sale of ivory in Hong Kong.
WATSON (voice-over): The international trade of ivory was banned in 1989 and, despite that, there are more than 400 licensed ivory traders in Hong
The dealers insist they're following the rules. They're only buying and selling from a stockpile of ivory from elephants that were killed before
But the conservationist group, Wild Aid, conducted a year-long investigation, during which they alleged that some of these dealers must be
laundering ivory that was poached from Africa after 1989, ivory that may also be smuggled in and outside of Hong Kong against international law.
Here's an excerpt from a report we broadcast last October.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON (voice-over): This clip, which appears to show a Hong Kong ivory dealer boasting how easy it is to launder ivory by swapping legal pre-1989
elephant tusks for freshly poached ivory, smuggled in from Africa.
In a separate video, a merchant offers to get fresh shipments of ivory from Africa.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATSON: Now the government of Hong Kong says it still needs to draw up legislation for this proposed ban. Activists say every minute counts
because, at the current rate of poaching, the elephant, the largest living mammal to walk the Earth in the wild, could be extinct within a generation
-- Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.
CURNOW: Thanks to Ivan for that update.
Now at least 14 people have been killed in an explosion near a polio vaccination center in Pakistan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Take a look at this map. It happened in the city of Quetta. Government officials say most of the victims were police officers.
One was a paramilitary trooper.
Both the Pakistani Taliban and a splinter militant group are claiming responsibility. Militants have targeted polio workers for years while
spreading mistrust about their intentions.
The public's fears were reinforced by the U.S. operation to find Osama bin Laden in 2011, which used a vaccination program as a cover. Many Pakistani
parents refuse to comply with mandatory vaccinations and Pakistan leads all other nations in new cases of polio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW: Thousands of people who have fled ISIS militants are staying in refugee camps in Iraq. Many of those living there are children and some
are trying to recover from the horror of being forced to kill for ISIS. Our Nima Elbagir has this exclusive report on the group's child soldiers.
NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Five-year-old Sara was captured alongside her mother by ISIS.
Now free, when her parents aren't looking, she runs to cover her face. It's what their ISIS captors taught her at gunpoint.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Al Farouq Institute in Raqqah: ISIS claims it is their main child soldier training facility.
"To jihad, to jihad," they're chanting.
In this propaganda video, spread out on either side of an ISIS trainer, blank-faced rows of children sit. One boy shakes visibly. Others unable
to raise their gaze.
These are the so-called cubs of the caliphate, ISIS' army of child soldiers.
"And by God's grace," he's saying, "in the coming days they will be at the front lines of the fight against the nonbelievers."
The Gweyr front line, south of the Kurdistan regional capital, Erbil, the Peshmerga commander tells us this is one of their most contested front
ELBAGIR: Just the other side of that river there, that's where he says the ISIS positions are. Just the other --
ELBAGIR (voice-over): -- side of that broken bridge and it's from there, he says, that desperate children are fleeing, making their way through that
river, swimming through the river, under cover of dark, risking their lives to make it here to safety.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): But not all manage to escape.
AZIZ ABDULLAH HADUR, PESHMERGA COMMANDER (through translator): Many times when we are fighting ISIS, we see children at the front line. They're
wearing explosive vests.
ELBAGIR: What's it like for you to have to open fire on children?
HADUR (through translator): They are brainwashed. When they make it through our lines, they kill our fighters. It's an unbearably hard
decision. You don't know what to do. If you don't kill them, they'll kill you.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): U.S. military sources tell CNN, as ISIS comes under increased pressure on the battlefield, they are relying on child soldiers
to fill out the ranks.
This 12-year-old boy was featured in the Al Farouq Institute propaganda video. He says he was training to be a suicide bomber.
Now reunited with his mother, he's asked us not to broadcast his face or his voice. He's asked that we call him "Nasir," not his real name.
"NASIR," ISIS CHILD SOLDIER (through translator): There were 60 of us. The scariest times for us all were when the airstrikes happened. They'd
lead all of us underground into the tunnels to hide. They told us the Americans, the unbelievers, were trying to kill us but they, the fighters,
they loved us.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): This, of course, was all part of the indoctrination. His ISIS handlers would tell him they were now his only family.
"NASIR" (through translator): When we were training, they would tell us our parents were unbelievers, unclean, and that our first job was to go
back and kill them, that we were cleaning the world of them, of all unbelievers.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): "Nasir" says the youngest of the boys was 5 years old, none of them exempt from the grueling training.
"NASIR" (through translator): We weren't allowed to cry but I would think about my mother, think about her worrying about me and I'd try and cry
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Highly stylized and romanticized, ISIS has released a number of videos, showcasing its child army. But the reality is, of
course, very different.
HADUR (through translator): When they arrive to us, they are so skinny they barely look human. They tell us they've been living in a hell.
ELBAGIR (voice-over): Back at the camp, Sara's mother hopes her little girl will evenly forget about the headscarf and the face covering and the
men with guns, who threatened her life -- Nima Elbagir, CNN, Gweyr, Iraq.
CURNOW: Thanks to Nima for that report.
You're watching CNN. More news, more analysis after this short break. Stay with us.
CURNOW: Hi, there. Welcome, everyone. You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. I'm Robyn Curnow. Here's a check of the headlines.
CURNOW: "Rolling Stone" magazine has released the entire video or interview Joaquin Guzman gave while on the run. Better known as El Chapo,
the Mexican drug boss was recaptured last week following a raid by Mexican Marines. Martin Savidge has more on this story.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mexican authorities released this new mug shot of El Chapo, showing the drug kingpin with his
head shaved and wearing prison clothing.
Meanwhile, "Rolling Stone" magazine released for the first time the entire on-camera interview with El Chapo, conducted at his mountain hideaway in
Sinaloa State last year.
The video runs 17 minutes and the person asking the questions is not actor Sean Penn but one of the crime boss' own men, who was given the questions.
That explains why there's no follow-up to any of El Chapo's answers.
Also new, a CNN crew was allowed into El Chapo's safe house in Los Mochis, which special forces raided last week.
The images reflect the violence inside, as Mexican Marines battled gunmen room by room. There were bullet holes and blast marks on the walls as well
as blood stains. The furniture and everything else is tossed about.
The video also reveals the remarkable escape tunnel that allowed El Chapo to get out of the house before being captured sometime later. It took 90
minutes of searching to even find the tunnel's entrance, hidden behind a mirror in a large closet and blocked by a steel door that looked like it
belonged to a vault.
Wooden stairs descend to a narrow walkway large enough for a person to stand upright. The tunnel has several inches of water on the floors since
it connects to the sewer system. Another large watertight door prevents the tunnel from completely flooding during heavy rains.
Authorities say El Chapo's elaborate plans allowed the drug lord to flee. But in the end, he found there was no escape -- Martin Savidge, CNN,
Sinaloa de Juarez (ph), Mexico.
CURNOW: What a story.
Well, searchers looking for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet found something else deep underwater: a shipwreck. The image captured on high resolution
sonar shows an iron or steel vessel that dates back to the 19th century. Crews have now scoured 80,000 square kilometers of the Southern Indian
Ocean, looking for missing Flight 370.
You're watching the INTERNATIONAL DESK. Still ahead, the U.S. president calls for a moonshot on cancer in his State of the Union address.
But can the country pull it off?
We'll take a look at the prospects for a cure.
CURNOW: You're watching CNN. Now one piece of news coming out of President Obama's State of the Union address is his call for the U.S. to
cure cancer, quote, "once and for all."
He recalled the 1960 space race with the Russians to announce what he calls a new moonshot. It was perhaps the only policy pitch in the entire speech
that drew strong applause from both Democrats and Republicans. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Tonight, I'm announcing a new national effort to get it done. And because he's gone to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past
40 years, I'm putting Joe in charge of Mission Control.
OBAMA: For the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still save, let's make America the country that cures cancer once and for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CURNOW (voice-over): Well, Vice President Biden was the first to call for that new moonshot to cure cancer following the death of his eldest son in
May last year. Beau Biden died of brain cancer. The vice president has been a strong advocate for finding a cure.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. with an estimated 1.6 million new cases diagnosed last year and more than half a million
people died from various forms of cancer, according to medical experts.
But there are positive signs. The overall cancer death rate has declined since the early 1990s, down 1.8 percent among American men, 1.4 percent for
women and down more than 2 percent among children.
So why are we seeing these trends?
To help us understand that, we turn to Dr. Otis Brawley from the American Cancer Society.
Thanks for coming here.
OTIS W. BRAWLEY, M.D., CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: Thank you.
CURNOW: So you heard the president there. If the vice president, who is in charge of Mission Control, we understand, on this issue, phoned you up
and said, we're going to give you everything you want, what do you need?
BRAWLEY: You know, I love the Mission Control analogy because what the system currently needs is good command and control. We need somebody to
coordinate all the research that's going on.
We need sustained funding for the researchers who are doing the research.
This is an attainable goal. It's going to take us a long, long time.
CURNOW: How long?
When you say cure cancer, that, in itself, is a complicated sentence, even though it sounds simple.
How long, if everything's thrown at it?
BRAWLEY: Well, there are 200 different diseases that we call cancer. Already there's several that we can do very well with. Some people live in
peaceful co-existence with it. Some people are actually cured from it.
Over the next several years, if we have a concerted effort, we're going to have more people doing well.
Fifty years from now, are we going to have people dying from cancer?
Yes. But we can do much better than we're doing right now. And it's frequently a logistical and support issue. It's not that we need more
clever people, we need better people doing science. We need to support those folks and they need to be coordinated in their efforts.
CURNOW: So you need a military commander type --
BRAWLEY: Some people have called it a cancer czar is what we need.
CURNOW: OK. Either way, it's someone strong to crack the whip.
So with that in mind, underscoring then that it's clearly difficulties in trying to find a cure because of bureaucracy, red tape, competing research
and development goals by different pharmaceutical companies, is it in their interests to all work together?
BRAWLEY: I think it is. And actually, I think Vice President Biden is a wonderful person to do it. There are democratic and political issues here
as well. And he's somebody who can work across the aisle. You noted that both sides of the aisle stood up and applauded.
BRAWLEY: I think this can actually be something good for science, good for cancer, good for the people who have cancer, maybe even good for the
country, in getting some of those folks to work together.
CURNOW: The president referred to it, the loved ones we've all lost, the loved ones, the family members who are still cancer survivors.
It makes, I think, all of our viewers, all of us, you know, very, very attached to a conversation like this.
So with that in mind, what is working now?
We know about radiation, we know about chemo. But I understand immunotherapy is a really new focus.
Will -- would that be the main target?
BRAWLEY: Well, immunotherapy is actually something to talk about. The first immunotherapies done were in 1901. But in the last five to 10 years,
we have honed them down. And they are doing remarkable things in melanoma and certain lung cancers, in certain kidney cancers.
Immunotherapy is very important. Other things are important as well. You know, Richard Nixon declared war on cancer 45 years ago. And what we got
from that over the last 45 years is an amazing understanding of what's going on inside of the cancer cell.
We know at a molecular level what some of the targets are. Some of those targets are now druggable. Immunotherapy is one of those drugs or a series
of those drugs. I'm very excited.
But what we really need to do is we need coordinated effort. We still need to be very orthodox and apply the science. One of my problem is in the
United States sometimes people don't really want to apply the science or accept the scientific effort.
We need to also, by the way, work in the United States on getting some of the known already good science to people who don't get it.
CURNOW: And also I think what's important, we're having this conversation about the U.S., about a presidential dictave (ph) essentially here but the
implications of this could be felt globally because of course the U.S. leads when it comes to cancer research.
BRAWLEY: The United States has the largest basic science research infrastructure for cancer. But we work hand-in-hand with our colleagues in
Europe and Asia. If the United States were to do this, the benefits to everybody would be tremendous. It would also, by the way, be benefits for
prevention of cancer as well as treatment of cancer.
CURNOW: Thank you so much.
BRAWLEY: My pleasure.
CURNOW: Appreciate you coming in to the studio.
Are you optimistic?
BRAWLEY: I'm very optimistic.
CURNOW: Great. Thank you.
Dr. Otis Brawley there, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.
Well, you're watching INTERNATIONAL DESK. And that's it from us. I'll be back, though, in just over an hour with more on relations between Iran and
the United States. Lots to talk about, that issue. But in the meantime, "WORLD SPORT" is next.