THEY COULD BE THE DINOsaurs of health care. Big academic medical centers, with their hefty research budgets and spendthrift ways, seem like candidates for extinction in an era of cost-conscious managed care. Hence the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a consortium announced on Jan. 31 by 13 cancer-treatment centers. The NCCN will pitch itself to large employers and insurers as a coordinated cancer-care system with national coverage. So far, Tenneco, General Electric, and AT&T show interest.

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