While the controversy that results from conflicting data often pushes science forward, sometimes it can result from a misreading of the data, as Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ONXX) found out last week.

The potentially controversial idea in this case is Frank McCormick's vision that an adenovirus defective in the gene for E1b 55K would only be able to replicate in, and thus kill, cells that lack the p53 tumor suppressor gene while not harming normal p53-containing cells.