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National Cancer Institute, Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program
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2008 Application Catalog

Program Description

Clinical Cancer Prevention Research

Applications of cancer prevention strategies require a direct link to individuals and human populations. Clearly, collaborations between clinical and pre-clinical scientists will bolster the understanding of mechanisms of carcinogenesis and aid in identifying targets for prevention. However, despite creative animal and laboratory models, humans with their innate and acquired complexity are essential for intervention studies. Also deeply intertwined within the broad field of clinical prevention, and meriting further attention, are crucial issues relating to drug development processes, protection of human subjects, and ethical implications associated with prevention research.

Clinical cancer prevention research training, with its focus on translational prevention research, is one of the newest additions to the CPFP. Clinicians have the opportunity to participate in multidisciplinary research, the hallmark of the CPFP, in order to help bridge the gap between clinical and pre-clinical cancer prevention science. This training incorporates unique features while maintaining the identical structure of the parent program, including eligibility, stipend, benefits, application procedures, and evaluations.

Background and Rationale. Clinical research is fundamental to the practice of cancer prevention. Over the past decades, with advances in the basic sciences, innovations in bioengineering, and findings from epidemiologic studies, the multidisciplinary field of cancer prevention has flourished. Through clinical research, the application of these discoveries has led to the identification of effective chemopreventive agents, novel early detection technologies, and recognition of individuals at high risk of developing cancer. Additionally, clinical intervention trials, as exemplified in the nutritional and behavioral sciences, have yielded successful cancer prevention strategies.

The design, implementation, analysis, and interpretation of clinical prevention studies is a relatively new research area for which few clinicians are adequately trained. The opportunity now exists within the CPFP for postdoctoral clinicians, including physicians, nurses, psychologists, and pharmacists, to combine formal training in clinical research methodology with their clinical acumen and interest in cancer prevention.

Brief Program Description. The program provides:

  • Master’s degree in clinical investigation (M.S.) or public health (M.P.H.) at any one-year, accredited, university program
  • NCI Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention
  • Mentored research opportunities at the NCI, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, the National Naval Medical Center, and local universities
  • Opportunity to obtain clinical privileges at nearby medical institutions at which research is carried out, provided that eligibility criteria are fulfilled
  • Experience in clinical protocol review in NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention
  • Additional coursework in clinical trials methodology, bioethics, health policy, epidemiology, and biostatistics, as needed
  • Professional development and leadership training

Research Opportunities. General categories of research topics include:

  • Behavioral intervention research
  • Biomarker development
  • Clinical studies in high-risk populations
  • Clinical trials of chemopreventive agents
  • Design and analysis of prevention trials
  • Epidemiology (clinical, molecular, genetic, nutritional, environmental)
  • Ethical issues in clinical prevention
  • Ethics and evidence-based clinical decision making (theoretical and practical studies)
  • Evaluation and outcomes research of clinical prevention practices
  • Health disparities and special populations research
  • Laboratory-based research (chemoprevention studies, molecular biology and genetics, molecular carcinogenesis, nutritional science)
  • Nutritional intervention studies
  • Screening and early detection trials

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