Research in Drosophila has contributed many pioneering discoveries relevant to cancer and other diseases. Readers of this blog might be interested to read a NYTimes interview with Harold Varmus titled "The Condition Cancer Research Is In."
From the article: "People feel their likelihood of getting funded is greater if they work on things that may have a clinical application. I’m worried about that, because I look at the big things that have changed the face of health care, and it’s usually the result of some pioneering discovery not made in conjunction with the notion of how to treat somebody. ... if we become slackers on funding the absolutely most fundamental things, we will not hit upon the real answers."