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The National Cancer Institute is the world's largest organization solely dedicated to cancer research.

NCI supports researchers at universities and hospitals across the United States and at NCI-Designated Cancer Centers, a network of facilities that not only study cancer in laboratories but also conduct research on the best ways to rapidly bring the fruits of scientific discovery to cancer patients.

In NCI's own laboratories—almost 5,000 principal investigators, from basic scientists to clinical researchers—conduct earliest phase cancer clinical investigations of new agents and drugs. Recent advances in bioinformatics and the related explosion of technology for genomics and proteomics research are dramatically accelerating the rate for processing large amounts of information for cancer screening and diagnosis. The largest collaborative research activity is the Clinical Trials Program for testing interventions for preventing cancer, diagnostic tools, and cancer treatments, allowing access as early as possible to all who can benefit. NCI supports over 1,300 clinical trials a year, assisting more than 200,000 patients.

NCI's scientists also work collaboratively with extramural researchers to accelerate the development of state-of-the-art techniques and technologies. In addition to direct research funding, NCI offers the nation's cancer scientists a variety of useful research tools and services, including tissue samples, statistics on cancer incidence and mortality, bioinformatics tools for analyzing data, databases of genetic information, and resources through NCI-supported Cancer Centers, Centers of Research Excellence, and the Mouse Models of Human Cancer Consortium. NCI researchers are also seeking the causes of disparities among underserved groups and gaps in quality cancer care, helping to translate research results into better health for groups at high risk for cancer, including cancer survivors and the aging population.

As the leader of the National Cancer Program, NCI provides vision and leadership to the global cancer community, conducting and supporting international research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs. Timely communication of NCI scientific findings help people make better health choices and advise physicians about treatment options that are more targeted and less toxic.

Information about the National Cancer Institute's research and activities is available through its Web site,

Important Events in NCI History

August 5, 1937—President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the National Cancer Institute Act.

November 9, 1937—The National Advisory Cancer Council held its first meeting.

November 27, 1937—The Surgeon General awarded first grants-in-aid on the recommendation of the National Advisory Cancer Council.

January 3, 1938—The National Advisory Cancer Council recommended approval of first awards for fellowships in cancer research.

August 1940—The Journal of the National Cancer Institute published its first issue.

July 1, 1946—The cancer control program was established with appropriations to the states for support of cancer control activities. Staff was organized into 6 sections: biology, biochemistry, biophysics, chemotherapy, epidemiology, and pathology.

July 1, 1947—NCI reorganized to provide an expanded program of intramural cancer research, cancer research grants, and cancer control activities.

November 13, 1947—The Research Grants and Fellowship Branch was established. It became the administrative arm of the Advisory Council.

October 1948—A grants program to medical, dental, and osteopathic schools was initiated for improvement of training in the field of cancer research, diagnosis, and treatment.

July 2, 1953—NCI inaugurated a full-scale clinical research program in the new Clinical Center.

April 1955—The Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center was established in the institute to coordinate the first national, voluntary, cooperative cancer chemotherapy program.

1957—The first malignancy (choriocarcinoma) was cured with chemotherapy at NCI.

November 1959—The Journal of the National Cancer Institute inaugurated a series of occasional publications as Monographs to be used for in-depth scientific communications in specific subject areas.

September 13, 1960—The NCI director appointed an associate director for grants and training, associate director for field studies, and associate director for collaborative research.

January 12, 1961—The Laboratory of Viral Oncology was established to investigate the relationship of viruses to human cancer.

April 2, 1962—An exhibit, "Man Against Cancer," opened in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the institute's 25th anniversary and inaugurate Cancer Progress Year.

May 7, 1962—The Acute Leukemia Task Force held its first meeting. It focused the combined efforts and resources of scientists on studies of therapy of the acute leukemia patient, and was the forerunner of other task forces on specific forms of cancer.

October 25, 1962—The Human Cancer Virus Task Force held its first meeting. The task force, of scientists from NCI and other institutions, stimulated the development of special programs in viral oncology.

1963—Studies were initiated at NCI in Hodgkin's disease with combination chemotherapy.

December 1964—The report of the President's Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke was published.

January 11, 1966—NCI reorganized to coordinate related activities. Scientific directors oversaw three newly established scientific divisions: etiology, chemotherapy, and a group of discipline-oriented laboratories and branches referred to as general laboratories and clinics. Two associate directors were named for program and for extramural activities.

February 13, 1967—A cancer research center, USPHS Hospital, was established in Baltimore by the institute to conduct an integrated program of laboratory and clinical research.

April 27, 1970—At the request of Senator Ralph W. Yarborough, chairman of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, the Senate approved the establishment of the National Panel of Consultants on the Conquest of Cancer.

November 25, 1970—The national panel of consultants submitted to the Senate committee a report entitled "National Program for the Conquest of Cancer."

October 18, 1971—President Nixon converted the Army's former biological warfare facilities at Fort Detrick, Maryland, to house research activities on the causes, treatment, and prevention of cancer.

December 23, 1971—President Nixon signed the National Cancer Act of 1971.

July 27, 1972—A Bureau-level organization was established for NCI, giving the institute and its components organizational status commensurate with the responsibilities bestowed on it by the National Cancer Act of 1971. Under the reorganization, NCI was composed of the Office of the Director and 4 divisions: Cancer Biology and Diagnosis, Cancer Cause and Prevention, Cancer Treatment, and Cancer Grants (renamed successively the Division of Cancer Research, Resources and Centers, and later the Division of Extramural Activities).

June 20, 1973—NCI director Dr. Frank J. Rauscher, Jr., announced that 8 institutions were recognized as Comprehensive Cancer Centers to bring results of research as rapidly as possible to a maximum number of people. Additional centers were announced on November 2, 1973; June 13, 1974; October 18, 1974; April 8, 1976; December 30, 1976; July 27, 1978; and March 2, 1979, increasing the number of Comprehensive Cancer Centers to 20. (In July 2000 there are 37.)

September 5, 1973—The President transmitted to Congress the first annual report of the director of the National Cancer Program, a 5-year strategic plan for the program, and the report of the National Cancer Advisory Board. Preparation and transmittal of the documents were mandated by the National Cancer Act of 1971.

September 10, 1974—The Division of Cancer Control and Rehabilitation was established to plan, direct, and coordinate an integrated program of cancer control and rehabilitation activities with the goal of identifying, testing, evaluating, demonstrating, communicating, and promoting the widespread use of available and new methods for reducing cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality.

September 12, 1974—NCI made its first cancer control awards to state health departments for a 3-year program to screen low-income women for cancer of the uterine cervix. At its peak in 1978, the program had grown to a total of 32 states and territories.

December 17, 1974—NCI and the National Library of Medicine established CANCERLINE, a jointly developed computerized service to provide scientists across the country with information on cancer research projects and published findings.

December 19, 1974—The Clinical Cancer Education Program was announced to develop more innovative teaching methods in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation in schools of medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, and public health; affiliated teaching hospitals; and specialized cancer institutions.

1975—The Cooperative Minority Biomedical Program, as approved by the National Cancer Advisory Board, represented a cofunding effort by NCI to implement and foster cancer research through NIH's Division of Research Resources' Minority Biomedical Research Support Program and the NIGMS Minority Access to Research Careers Program.

July 1, 1975—The Cancer Information Service (CIS) was established on July 1, 1975, following the mandate of the National Cancer Act of 1971, which gave NCI new responsibilities for educating the public, patients, and health professionals.

August 5, 1977—NCI celebrated its 40th anniversary with a ceremony on the NIH campus. Senator Warren G. Magnuson of Washington who, as a member of the House of Representatives, introduced a bill to establish the NCI in 1937, sent a message stating: "Those one and a half million Americans who are alive today—cured of cancer—are ample justification for all that we've appropriated over the last 40 years."

1979—The first human RNA virus (HTLV-I) was discovered by NCI's Dr. Robert C. Gallo.

July 18, 1979—NCI and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., signed an agreement to cooperate in a cancer treatment research program.

July 10, 1980—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris approved institute-wide reorganization. A newly created Division of Resources, Centers, and Community Activities incorporated functions of the former Division of Cancer Control and Rehabilitation and programs for education, training, construction, cancer centers, and organ site research of the former Division of Cancer Research, Resources, and Centers (DCRRC). Other activities of the DCRRC were incorporated into the new Division of Extramural Activities.

April 27, 1981—A new Biological Response Modifiers Program was established in the Division of Cancer Treatment to investigate, develop and bring to clinical trials potential therapeutic agents that may alter biological responses that are important in the biology of cancer growth and metastasis.

September 1982—PDQ, a computerized database on cancer treatment information, became available nationwide via the National Library of Medicine's MEDLARS system.

December 16, 1982—NCI purchased what is now the R. A. Bloch International Cancer Information Center through generous donations to the NCI Gift Fund. This building houses the Journal of the National Cancer Institute; the Scientific Information Branch, which publishes Cancer Treatment Reports and Cancer Treatment Symposia; the International Cancer Research Data Bank; and PDQ.

July 16, 1983—NCI launched the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP) to establish a cancer control effort that combines the expertise of community oncologists with NCI clinical research programs. The CCOP initiative is designed to bring the advantages of clinical research to cancer patients in their own communities.

September 1983—The Office of International Affairs was reorganized to add a Scientific Information Branch and a Computer Communications Branch. The Scientific Information Branch is composed of a literature research section, cancer treatment reports section, Journal of the National Cancer Institute section, and the international cancer research data bank section.

Community Clinical Oncology Program, an NCI resource that links community-based physicians with cooperative groups and cancer centers for participation in institute-approved clinical trials, was created.

December 5, 1983—The name of the Division of Cancer Cause and Prevention was changed to the Division of Cancer Etiology.

The Division of Resources, Centers and Community Activities was renamed the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) to emphasize the division's roles in cancer prevention and control research.

1984—A policy statement regarding the relationship of the NCI, the pharmaceutical industry, and NCI-supported cooperative groups was developed. The statement articulates the need for collaboration between the NCI and the pharmaceutical industry in pursuing the joint development of anticancer drugs of mutual interest. It also sets forth guidelines for the handling of issues such as the joint sponsorship of trials, the sharing of information between sponsors, maintaining the confidentiality of certain classes of data, the funding of cooperative groups by drug companies, the review of protocols and the publication of results.

The Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Program, DEA, was established to widen the focus of the minority effort along lines of the programmatic thrusts of the institute, thereby giving it trans-NCI responsibilities.

The Cancer Control Science program was established in DCPC to develop programs in health promotion research and to stimulate widespread application of existing cancer control knowledge. Branches include health promotion sciences, cancer control applications and cancer training.

March 6, 1984—HHS Secretary Margaret M. Heckler launched a new cancer prevention awareness program by NCI to inform the public about cancer risks and steps individuals can take to reduce risk.

April 1984—An NCI scientist, Dr. Robert C. Gallo, reported the isolation of a new group of viruses found in the helper T-cells of patients with AIDS or pre-AIDS symptoms, as well as from healthy individuals at high risk for developing AIDS. These viruses were ultimately named human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. This discovery made the control of blood-product-transmitted AIDS feasible by enabling the development of a simple test for the detection of AIDS-infected blood by blood banks and diagnostic laboratories.

August 1985—The Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, one of the first formal postdoctoral research training programs in cancer prevention, began.

November 10, 1986—The International Cancer Information Center was established in the Office of International Affairs, NCI Office of the Director.

May 1987—As part of NIH's centennial celebration year, NCI commemorated its 50th anniversary.

October 15, 1987—The DCPC established the Laboratory for Nutrition and Cancer Research with the basic nutrition science section and the clinical/metabolic human studies section.

October 24, 1987—The Office of Technology Development was established in the NCI Office of the Director as the institute's focal point for the implementation of pertinent legislation, rules and regulations, and the administration of activities relating to collaborative agreements, inventions, patents, royalties, and associated matters.

October 26, 1987—The DCT abolished the following branches, sections, and laboratory: the chromosome structure and function section in the Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology; the Drug Evaluation Branch and its sections; the drug synthesis section and the acquisition section in the Drug Synthesis and Chemistry Branch; the fermentation section and the plant and animal products section in the Natural Products Branch; the chemical resources section, the analytical and product development section and the clinical products section in the Pharmaceutical Resources Branch; the Extramural Research and Resources Branch; and the Animal Genetics and Production Branch; the sections of the Information Technology Branch; the Laboratory of Experimental Therapeutics and Metabolism and its sections; the sections of the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.

The DCT changed the name of the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics to the Laboratory of Biochemical Pharmacology. The division also established the Laboratory of Medicinal Chemistry, Pharmacology Branch, Biological Testing Branch, and Grants and Contracts Operations Branch.

1988—In DCT's Clinical Oncology Program, the Clinical Pharmacology Branch merged with the Medicine Branch.

The International Cancer Information Center established a separate office in the NCI Office of the Director.

January 1988—NCI journals Cancer Treatment Reports and Journal of the National Cancer Institute were consolidated into a biweekly Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

September 30, 1988—The first Consortium Cancer Center was established, comprised of three historically black medical schools. Component universities supported by this core grant—Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, Meharry Medical College in Nashville, and Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta—focus their efforts on cancer prevention, control, epidemiology, and clinical trials.

April 1989—The NCI-initiated mechanism of supplementing research grants to encourage recruitment of minority scientists and science students into extramural research laboratories is published as an NIH-wide extramural program announcement. This initiative will be expanded to cover science students and scientists who are women or persons with disabilities.

May 22, 1989—NCI scientist Dr. Steven A. Rosenberg conducted the first human gene transfer trial using human tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to which a foreign gene has been added.

September 14, 1990—Scientists from NCI and NHLBI conducted the first trial in which a copy of a faulty gene was inserted into white blood cells to reverse the immune deficiency it causes. This was the first human gene therapy trial and adenosine deaminase deficiency was treated.

December 19, 1990—The institute began its year-long celebration of the 20th anniversary of the National Cancer Act by inaugurating a series of articles in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. The series described the growth in knowledge that has occurred in cancer research since 1971.

January 29, 1991—The first human gene therapy to treat cancer was started. Patients with melanoma were treated with tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes to which a gene for tumor necrosis factor has been added.

September 24, 1991—Congress held a special hearing to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the National Cancer Act. Dr. Samuel A. Broder, NCI director, thanked Congress for its "consistent vision, leadership, and commitment to the goal of alleviating the death and suffering caused by cancer in this country."

October 1991—NCI began its Five-a-Day program, in partnership with the nonprofit group Produce for Better Health, to encourage Americans to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day.

December 18, 1992—Taxol (paclitaxel), an anticancer drug extracted from the bark of the Pacific yew, received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of ovarian cancer that has failed other therapy. NCI spearheaded the development of the drug through collaboration with the USDA's Forest Service, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, made possible by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986.

November 1993—The Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian trial, designed to determine whether certain screening tests will reduce the number of deaths from these cancers, began recruiting 148,000 men and women, ages 55-74.

February 1995—The results of the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation were completed and published.

1995/1996—NCI leadership initiated a major reorganization, based on recommendations of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the National Cancer Advisory Board and NCI streamlining work groups and quality improvement teams. Two extramural divisions were created—the Division of Cancer Treatment, Diagnosis, and Centers and the Division of Cancer Biology. Two intramural divisions were also created—the Division of Basic Sciences and the Division of Clinical Sciences—and one combined intramural/extramural division—the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics. The Divisions of Cancer Prevention and Control and Extramural Activities remain a part of the NCI structure, but in the extramural program.

November 1996—Cancer mortality rates decline nearly 3% between 1991 and 1995, the first sustained decline since national record keeping was instituted in the 1930s.

1996—The NCI Office of Liaison Activities was established to ensure that advocates have input concerning NCI research and related activities. The office supports NCI's research and programs by fostering strong communications and partnerships with the cancer advocacy community, professional societies, and Federal agencies.

August 1, 1997—NCI, in partnership with government, academic, and industrial laboratories, launched the Cancer Genome Anatomy Project with 2 overall goals: to enhance discovery of the acquired and inherited molecular changes in cancer and to evaluate the clinical potential of these discoveries. The project included a website allowing scientists to rapidly access data generated through the project and apply it to their studies.

October 1997—NCI reorganization continued, with the creation of the Division of Cancer Prevention and the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences from the former Division of Cancer Prevention and Control and the extramural component of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

1997—The NCI Director's Consumer Liaison Group was established to advise and provide recommendations to the NCI Director from the perspective and viewpoint of cancer advocates on a wide variety of issues, programs, and research priorities and to maintain strong collaborations between NCI and the advocacy community.

March 1998—Cancer incidence rates showed first sustained decline since NCI began keeping records in 1973. The rates dropped 0.7% per year from 1990 to 1995. Cancer mortality rates continued to decline.

April 6, 1998—Results of the Breast Cancer Prevention Trial, testing the effectiveness of tamoxifen to prevent the disease, were announced 14 months earlier than expected: women taking tamoxifen had 45% fewer breast cancer diagnoses than women on the placebo, proving that breast cancer can be prevented. Rare but serious side effects—endometrial cancer and blood clots—were shown to occur in some postmenopausal women on tamoxifen. A study to compare tamoxifen to another, potentially less toxic drug was planned for fall 1998.

September 25, 1998—The FDA approved the monoclonal antibody Herceptin (Trastuzumab) for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in patients with tumors that produce excess amounts of a protein called HER-2. (Approximately 30% of breast cancer tumors produce excess amounts of HER-2.)

May 25, 1999—The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR, one of the largest breast cancer prevention studies ever, began recruiting volunteers at more than 400 centers across the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The trial will include 22,000 postmenopausal women at increased risk of breast cancer to determine whether the osteoporosis prevention drug raloxifene (Evista) is as effective in reducing the chance of developing breast cancer as tamoxifen (Nolvadex) has proven to be.

October 6, 1999—NCI awarded nearly $8 million in grants toward the creation of the Early Detection Research Network, a network to discover and develop new biological tests for the early detection of cancer and of biomarkers for increased cancer risk. The awards created 18 Biomarker Developmental Laboratories to identify, characterize, and refine techniques for finding molecular, genetic, and biologic early warning signals of cancer.

December 8, 1999—The National Cancer Institute published the new Atlas of Cancer Mortality, 1950-94, showing the geographic patterns of cancer death rates in over 3,000 counties across the country over more than 4 decades. This atlas updated the first atlas, published in 1975. The 254 color-coded maps in the atlas made it easy for researchers and state health departments to identify places where high or low rates occur. For the first time, maps were presented for both white and black populations. An interactive version of the data was made available on the Internet for the first time, as well.

April 6, 2000—A $60 million program was announced to address the unequal burden of cancer within certain special populations in the United States over the next 5 years. The Special Populations Networks for Cancer Awareness Research and Training were intended to build relationships between large research institutions and community-based programs. Eighteen grants at 17 institutions were expected to create or implement cancer control, prevention, research, and training programs in minority and underserved populations. The cooperative relationships established by the Networks fostered cancer awareness activities, supported minority enrollment in clinical trials, and encouraged and promoted the development of minority junior biomedical researchers.

June 7, 2000—President Clinton issued an executive memorandum directing the Medicare program to reimburse providers for the cost of routine patient care in clinical trials. The memorandum also provides for additional actions to promote the participation of Medicare beneficiaries in clinical studies.

December 3, 2000—NCI established the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. The Center absorbed the former Office of Special Populations Research. The NCI Strategic Plan to Reduce Health Disparities is part of a major national commitment to identify and address the underlying causes of disease and disability in racial and ethnic communities. Because these communities carry an unequal burden of cancer-related health disparities, NCI is working to enhance its research, education, and training programs that focus on populations in need.

January 12, 2001—NCI announced the creation of the Center for Cancer Research, merging 2 intramural divisions at NCI—the Division of Basic Sciences and the Division of Clinical Sciences—to provide greater opportunities to translate fundamental research into pioneering clinical research and molecular medicine.

May 10, 2001—The Food and Drug Administration announced its approval of the drug Gleevec, also known as STI571, as an oral treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This marked the approval of the first molecularly targeted drug that directly turns off the signal of a protein known to cause a cancer. Clinical trials are continuing to expand as clinical investigators test Gleevec in a variety of cancers that share common molecular abnormalities.

July 24, 2001—The largest-ever prostate cancer prevention study was launched by the NCI and a network of researchers known as the Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG). The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT, was designed to determine if these 2 dietary supplements can protect against prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer, after skin cancer, in men. The study was expected to include a total of 32,400 men.

September 4, 2001—NCI and the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN) launched the first large, multicenter study to compare digital mammography to standard mammography for the detection of breast cancer.

September 10, 2001—NCI launched the Consumer Advocates in Research and Related Activities (CARRA) program—a landmark initiative convening a large network of dedicated advocates who bring the viewpoint of those affected by cancer to NCI. NCI staff, including researchers and scientists, are able to rely on the CARRA network of more than 200 advocates to give insight and feedback from the consumer's perspective to their developing programs.

February 7, 2002—Scientists from NCI and FDA reported that patterns of proteins found in patients' serum may reflect the presence of ovarian cancer, even at early stages. Currently, more than 80% of ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed at a late clinical stage and have a 20% or less chance of survival at 5 years. This new diagnostic concept is potentially applicable to the diagnosis of other diseases.

May 19, 2002—Researchers from NCI reported that the molecularly targeted drug bevacizumab slowed tumor growth in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer in adults.

June 19, 2002—NCI scientists used microarray technology to determine the patterns of genes that are active in tumor cells from which they were able to predict whether patients with the most common form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in adults are likely to be cured by chemotherapy. Trials designed to correlate clinical results with molecular data will allow researchers to identify drugs that are effective in subgroups of cancer patients, an approach that has already proven effective in finding new agents to treat breast cancer and leukemia.

July 16, 2002—An NCI-funded trial showed that postmenopausal women who used estrogen replacement therapy for 10 or more years were at significantly higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than women who never used hormone replacement therapy. The relative risk for 10 to 19 years of use was 80% higher risk than non-users, and increased to a 220% higher risk than non-users for women who took estrogen for 20 or more years.

September 18, 2002—NCI launched the National Lung Screening Trial to compare 2 ways of testing for early lung cancer in current and former heavy smokers: spiral computed tomography and single-view chest x-ray. Both spiral CT scans and chest x-rays have been used in clinical practice to detect lung cancer in asymptomatic individuals, but scientific evidence is inconclusive as to whether screening for lung cancer with either method will reduce lung cancer mortality. The trial will examine the relative risks and benefits of both tests in 50,000 current and former smokers at 30 study sites throughout the United States.

September 19, 2002—A new approach to cancer treatment that replaces a patient's immune system with cancer-fighting cells can lead to tumor shrinkage. NCI researchers demonstrated that immune cells, activated in the laboratory against patients' tumors and then administered to those patients, could attack cancer cells in the body. The experimental technique, known as adoptive transfer, has shown promising results in patients with metastatic melanoma who have not responded to standard treatment.

October 16, 2002—Patterns of proteins found in patients' blood may help distinguish between prostate cancer and benign conditions, according to scientists from NCI and FDA. The technique, which relies on a simple test using a drop of blood, may be useful in deciding whether to perform a biopsy in men with elevated levels of prostate specific antigen (PSA).

October 31, 2002—NCI researchers have discovered that a molecule best known for its antimicrobial properties also has the ability to activate key cells in the immune response. This newly discovered function suggests the molecule, a peptide called ß-defensin 2, may be useful in the development of more effective cancer vaccines.

December 12, 2002—A new clinical trial has shown that reducing the interval between successive doses of a commonly used chemotherapy regimen improves survival in women whose breast cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. While previous research has evaluated the use of various forms of "dose dense" chemotherapy, this is the first major controlled study to show a clear survival benefit for women with node-positive breast cancer.

2003—A novel approach to treatment of solid cancers involves therapeutic agents that inhibit the generation of new blood vessels in growing tumors (angiogenesis). The evidence linking tumor growth and metastases with angiogenesis is compelling: in colorectal and breast cancers, the density of microvessels in histologic specimens has been correlated with disease recurrence, metastases, and survival. Of the identified angiogenic factors, vascular endothelial growth factor has been shown to be the most potent and specific.

February 2003—NCI scientists, using DNA microarrays, found that the length of survival following diagnosis of mantle cell lymphoma can be accurately predicted based on gene expression measurements in the diagnostic tumor biopsy. This molecular predictor can identify one quartile of these patients who have a very indolent disease, with a median survival of greater than 6 years, and another quartile that have an aggressive disease, with a median survival of less than one year. Using this predictor, patients with the indolent form of mantle cell lymphoma can be managed conservatively, whereas new clinical trials can be designed specifically for those patients with the more aggressive tumors.

March 5, 2003—Taking daily aspirin for as little as 3 years was shown to reduce the development of colorectal polyps by 19% to 35% in people at high risk for colorectal cancer in 2 randomized, controlled NCI clinical trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

April 24, 2003—NCI, CDC, AHRQ, and SAMHSA, in collaboration with the American Cancer Society, launched the Cancer Control PLANET (Plan, Link, Act, Network with Evidence-based Tools), a web portal providing access to regularly updated cancer surveillance data and program resources including cancer control interventions. PLANET is designed to also help state- and community-based planners, program staff, and researchers develop, implement, and evaluate evidence-based cancer control programs. The portal is accompanied by in-person technical support meetings with state and regional public and private sector partnership staff who are working together to use PLANET resources for comprehensive cancer control. (Visit for more information.)

May 30, 2003—Under an agreement between FDA and NCI, the 2 agencies, overseen by an Interagency Oncology Task Force, will share knowledge and resources to facilitate the development of new cancer drugs and speed their delivery to patients.

June 24, 2003—Results of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, testing the effectiveness of finasteride to prevent the disease, were announced about a year earlier than expected. Men taking finasteride had 25% fewer prostate cancer diagnoses than men on the placebo, proving that prostate cancer can be prevented. There was a note of caution, however; the men who did develop prostate cancer while taking finasteride were more likely to have high-grade tumors.

July 1, 2003—Data from the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial gave fresh insight into the appropriate screening intervals for colorectal cancer after a negative exam. This was the largest study to date of repeat sigmoidoscopy screening after an exam. In 2003 the accepted interval for sigmoidoscopy, a technique in which the rectum and lower colon are examined with a lighted instrument called a sigmoidoscope, was 5 years after a negative exam. This recommendation was based primarily on indirect evidence. Exactly how often to repeat sigmoidoscopy is an evolving field of research. It was unclear whether data from this study, which measured the incidence of growths or polyps 3 years after an initial exam, might play a role in changing the recommended 5-year interval.

September 2, 2003—Death rates from the 4 most common cancers—lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal—continued to decline in the late 1990s according to data from the "Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2000."

October 9, 2003—A Canadian-led international clinical trial found that post-menopausal survivors of early-stage breast cancer who took the drug letrozole after completing an initial 5 years of tamoxifen therapy had a significantly reduced risk of cancer recurrence compared to women taking a placebo. The clinical trial had been halted early because of the positive results.

November 6, 2003—NCI scientists demonstrated that the growth factors interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL-15 have contrasting roles in the life and death of lymphocytes, an observation that has implications for the immunotherapy of cancer and autoimmune diseases.

June 3, 2004—NCI's Annual Report to the Nation found cancer incidence and death rates on the decline as survival rates showed significant improvement. Overall, cancer death rates for all racial and ethnic populations combined declined by 1.1% per year from 1993 to 2001 and also declined for many of the top 15 cancers in both men and women. Lung cancer death rates among women leveled off for the first time between 1995 and 2001 after increasing continuously for many decades.

July 16, 2004—An NCI Phase I clinical trial is underway to test the safety and efficacy of BMS-354825 in chronic myeloid leukemia patients with imatinib resistance. The effectiveness of imatinib (Gleevec), a small-molecule drug that inhibits the aberrant activity of the BCR-ABL protein tyrosine kinase, has been limited due to the problem of drug resistance. BMS-354825, a closely related drug, overcomes much of this resistance.

September 13, 2004—NCI announced the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, a 5-year initiative to integrate nanotechnology development into basic and applied cancer research to facilitate the rapid application of this science to the clinic. The initiative was designed to support the development of nanomaterials and nanoscale devices for molecular imaging and early detection, reporters of efficacy, and multifunctional therapeutics to combat the cancer process.

November 18, 2004—Scientists at NCI have created a model that predicts the survival of 191 follicular lymphoma patients based on the molecular characteristics of their tumors at diagnosis. The model is based on 2 sets of genes—called survival-associated signatures. Understanding the molecular causes of such differences in survival could provide a more accurate method to determine patient risk, which could be used to guide treatment and may suggest new therapeutic approaches.

December 10, 2004—An NCI study determined that a new molecular test can predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence and may identify women who will benefit most from chemotherapy. The test is based on levels of expression (increased or decreased) of a panel of cancer-related genes that is used to predict whether estrogen-dependent breast cancer will come back.

February 16, 2005—In preparation for the new generation of molecular-based oncology medical products, NCIand FDA established an NCI-FDA Research and Regulatory Review Fellowship program. The program is designed to train a cadre of researchers to bridge the processes from scientific discovery through clinical development and regulatory review of new oncology products. The new generation of targeted therapies and diagnostic products will demand new skills and processes that must be incorporated into the current research and regulatory system. The NCI-FDA fellowship program represents an innovative and collaborative approach to that objective. The NCI-FDA Research and Regulatory Fellowship program is an initiative of NCI's and FDA's Interagency Oncology Task Force (IOTF), a major collaboration between the 2 agencies. The IOTF was established in recognition of the fact that cross-fertilization between the NCI and FDA is critical for developing the knowledge base necessary to bring new, molecular-based therapies and diagnostics into the clinical practice of oncology. or

April 12, 2005—NCI announced the creation of the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid™. The program brings together open source, open access tools, applications, data and standards developed by the caBIG™ community to accelerate cancer research, prevention and care. caBIG™ providies the foundational infrastructure and specific applications to create a World Wide Web of cancer research. Over 800 individuals from NCI-designated Cancer Centers and other organizations (more than 80 organizations in all) are participating.

April 25, 2005—The combination of the targeted agent trastuzumab (Herceptin) and standard chemotherapy cuts the risk of HER-2-positive breast cancer recurrence by more than half compared with chemotherapy alone. The result comes from two large, NCI-sponsored, randomized trials testing, as adjuvant therapy, a trastuzumab/chemotherapy combination against chemotherapy alone in women with invasive, early stage, HER-2 positive breast cancer. For women with this type of aggressive breast cancer, the addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy appears to virtually reverse prognosis from unfavorable to good.

May 6, 2005—NCI announced the Community Networks Program (CNP), a 5-year initiative to reduce cancer disparities in minority and underserved populations through community participation in education, research and training. Building upon the work of the previous Special Populations Networks, the CNP aims to improve access to- and utilization of- beneficial cancer interventions and treatments in communities experiencing cancer health disparities. For more information, see

September/October 2005—NCI implemented major components of its $144.3 million 5-year initiative for nanotechnology in cancer research. First-year awards totaling $26.3 million were expected to help establish 7 Centers of Cancer Nanotechnology Excellence (CCNEs). Each of the CCNE awardees is associated with 1 or more NCI-designated cancer centers, affiliated with schools of engineering and physical sciences, and partnered with not-for-profit organizations and/or private sector firms, with the specific intent of advancing the technologies being developed. In addition NCI funded awards totaling $35 million over five years to establish 12 Cancer Nanotechnology Platform Partnerships. The National Cancer Institute and the National Science Foundation launched a collaboration to establish integrative training environments for U.S. science and engineering doctoral students to focus on interdisciplinary nanoscience and technology research with applications to cancer. Through this partnership, $12.8 million in grants are being awarded to four institutions over the next 5 years. These advances are part of the NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, launched in September 2004 as a comprehensive, integrated initiative to develop and translate cancer-related nanotechnology research into clinical practice.

September 16, 2005—Preliminary results from a large, clinical trial of digital vs. film mammography showed no difference in detecting breast cancer for the general population of women in the trial. However, those women with dense breasts, who are pre- or perimenopausal (women who had a last menstrual period within 12 months of their mammograms), or who are younger than age 50 may benefit from having a digital rather than a film mammogram. These results may give clinicians better guidance and greater choice in deciding which women might benefit most from various forms of mammography.

September 28, 2005—NCI and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) created Rembrandt (Repository for Molecular BRAin Neoplasia DaTa), a joint informatics initiative to molecularly characterize a large number of primary brain tumors and to correlate those data with extensive retrospective and prospective clinical data. Understanding the biology behind these tumors and overlaying this valuable data on clinical data will provide clues to discover new therapies.

October 5, 2005—NCI' Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975-2002, showed observed cancer death rates from all cancers combined dropped 1.1% per year from 1993 to 2002. According to the report's authors, declines in death rates reflect progress in prevention, early detection, and treatment.

October 11, 2005—NCI announced the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) initiative to study the effects of diet, weight, and physical activity on cancer and to answer critical questions to help guide our nation's public health efforts. The TREC initiative was one of many NIH-funded programs designed to understand and reduce the increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States.

October 2005—The Patient Navigator Research Program (PNRP), an NCI initiative, was underway to assess the impact of patient navigators on providing timely and quality standard cancer care to patients following an abnormal cancer finding. The PNRP was designed to encourage research collaborations and partnerships with organizations serving diverse underserved communities within cancer care delivery systems.

November 7, 2005—NCI launched a cancer biorepository pilot project designed to standardize biospecimen collection and management among investigators of the NCI's prostate cancer Specialized Programs of Research Excellence. The project was expected to enhance the quality and availability of various biospecimens and associated data for the broader scientific community. This year, NCI established the Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) in recognition of the critical role of biospecimens to an understanding of disease at the molecular level, and the OBBR has issues its First Generation Guidelines for NCI-Supported Biorepositories.

December 7, 2005—Results from several studies presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium validated that a new test can predict the risk of breast cancer recurrence in a sizable group of patients. The studies also appeared to identify which of those patients might benefit most from chemotherapy. The studies were heralded by researchers as an important moment in the move toward individualized cancer care. Central to the investigations was a test, Oncotype DX, that analyzed the expression of a 21-gene panel in biopsy samples from women with estrogen-dependent, lymph-node negative breast cancer, which accounts for more than 50,000 breast cancer cases in the United States each year.

December 13, 2005—NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) launched a comprehensive effort to accelerate an understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, especially large-scale genome sequencing. The overall effort, called The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), began with a pilot project to determine the feasibility of a full-scale effort to systematically explore the universe of genomic changes involved in all types of human cancer. NCI and NHGRI each committed $50 million over 3 years to the TCGA Pilot Project. The project was expected to develop and test the complex science and technology framework needed to systematically identify and characterize the genetic mutations and other genomic changes associated with cancer.

January 12, 2006NCI Supports Interagency Oncology Task Force Efforts to Stimulate Faster and Safer Development of New, Life-saving Interventions for Cancer Patients—Today's announcement by the FDA of guidance for exploratory investigational new drug (IND) studies will help streamline the earliest phases of clinical research in the development of life-saving medical interventions for cancer patients.

April 17, 2006Osteoporosis Drug Raloxifene Shown to be as Effective as Tamoxifen in Preventing Invasive Breast Cancer—Initial results of the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, or STAR, show that the drug raloxifene, currently used to prevent and treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, works as well as tamoxifen in reducing breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women at increased risk of the disease. Questions and Answers, STAR en Español

May 23, 2006Personalized Treatment Trial for Breast Cancer Launched—The Trial Assigning IndividuaLized Options for Treatment (Rx), or TAILORx, was launched on May 23, 2006, to examine whether genes that are frequently associated with risk of recurrence for women with early-stage breast cancer can be used to assign patients to the most appropriate and effective treatment. Questions and Answers, TAILORx en Español

June 7, 2006Gene Expression Profiling Can Accurately Diagnose Burkitt's Lymphoma—Gene profiling, a molecular technique that examines many genes simultaneously, can accurately distinguish between two types of immune cell tumors, Burkitt's lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Burkitt's lymphoma and DLBCL appear similar when viewed under a microscope but correct diagnosis is critical because each requires very different treatments.

June 8, 2006Statement from NCI on FDA Approval of the HPV Vaccine—Nearly 2 decades ago, researchers at NCI and other institutions began searching for the underlying causes of cervical cancer. That scientific quest led to today's FDA approval of the vaccine Gardasil, which protects against infection from the 2 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause the majority of cervical cancers worldwide. HPV en Español

June 29, 2006Scientists Identify an Inherited Gene That Strongly Affects Risk for the Most Common Form of Melanoma—Researchers at NCI have identified a link between inherited and acquired genetic factors that dramatically increase the chance of developing a very common type of melanoma. This finding appeared in an online version of Science on June 29, 2006.

August 14, 2006Researchers Discover a Unique Pattern of Gene Activity that Can Predict Liver Cancer Spread—Researchers have found that a unique pattern of activity for genes in cells located in the tissue surrounding a liver tumor can accurately predict whether the cancer will spread to other parts of the liver or to other parts of the body.

August/September 2006—NCI researchers developed a new model for estimating the 5-year risk of melanoma. The model can be used by health professionals to identify individuals at increased risk of melanoma through routine office visits and help them plan for potential interventions. Also available is the Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, a computer program developed by scientists at NCI and the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project. This model allows a health professional to estimate a woman's individual breast cancer risk over a 5-year period and over her lifetime and compares her risk calculation with the average risk for a woman of the same age.;

September 6, 2006Annual Report to the Nation Finds Cancer Death Rates Continue to Drop; Lower Cancer Rates Observed in U.S. Latino Populations—A new report from the nation's leading cancer organizations found that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continued to drop, maintaining a trend that began in the early 1990s. However, the rate of new cancers remains stable. Questions and Answers

September 27, 2006NCI Creates Network of Clinical Proteomic Technology Centers for Cancer Research—NCI announced awards totaling $35.5 million over 5 years to establish a collaborative network of 5 Clinical Proteomic Technology Assessment for Cancer Teams.

October 2, 2006NCI Scientists Identify Novel Protein That Ties Disruption of a Critical Cellular Pathway to Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome—Researchers at NCI have linked specific genetic mutations to defects in cells that lead to a rare disease known as Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. The researchers discovered a novel protein that binds to the normal version, but not the mutant version, of the protein implicated in Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome.

October 5, 2006—The Biomarkers Consortium—The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, NIH, FDA, and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a public-private biomedical research partnership, formed The Biomarkers Consortium to search for and validate new biomarkers to accelerate the delivery of new technologies, medicines, and therapies for prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. The first projects, to be undertaken by NCI, will be 2 clinical trials, one in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and one in lung cancer.

October 16, 2006NIH Announces 2 Integral Components of The Cancer Genome Atlas Pilot Project—The Cancer Genome Atlas program, created by NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), will accelerate understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies. NIH today announced another 2 of the components of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Pilot Project, a 3-year, $100 million collaboration to test the feasibility of using large-scale genome analysis technologies to identify important genetic changes involved in cancer. Lung, brain (glioblastoma), and ovarian cancers were chosen as the tumors for study by TCGA Pilot Project.

October 18, 2006NCI Releases Preliminary Data on Genetic Susceptibility for Prostate Cancer—NCI released new data from the Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility (CGEMS) study on prostate cancer. This information could help identify genetic factors that influence the disease and will be integral to the discovery and development of new, targeted therapies. This was the first public release of a whole-genome association study of cancer—such studies examine the entire genome, with no assumptions about which genetic alterations cause cancer.

November 2006—NCI's National Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) Pilot will examine the concept of providing a comprehensive approach to cancer care for all patients in local communities through a pilot initiative scheduled to launch in early 2007. The NCCCP seeks to improve cancer care in local communities by: increasing participation in early phase clinical trials, reducing cancer health disparities, and improving overall access to prevention, screening and treatment services. The pilot program will also explore the value of a computer-based knowledge exchange network that could be used to support the work of the community sites, giving them an effective way to share findings, best practices, and other information to advance the goals and improve the NCCCP model. The pilot program will be conducted at approximately 6 community sites over a period of 3 years.

March 28, 2007MRI Detects Cancers in the Opposite Breast of Women Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer—Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of women who were diagnosed with cancer in one breast detected over 90% of cancers in the other breast that were missed by mammography and clinical breast exam at initial diagnosis, according to a new study. Given the established rates of mammography and clinical breast exams for detecting cancer in the opposite, or contralateral breast, adding an MRI scan to the diagnostic evaluation effectively doubled the number of cancers immediately found in these women.

April 1, 2007NCI Researchers Discover a Common Variation in a Gene Segment that Increases the Risk for Prostate Cancer—Researchers reported that a variation in a portion of DNA strongly predicts prostate cancer risk and that this common variation may be responsible for up to 20% of prostate cancer cases in white men in the United States. Researchers are scanning the entire human genome to identify common, inherited gene mutations that increase the risks for breast and prostate cancers.

April 18, 2007Decrease in Breast Cancer Rates Related to Reduction in Use of Hormone Replacement Therapy —The sharp decline in the rate of new breast cancer cases in 2003 may be related to a national decline in the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Age-adjusted breast cancer incidence rates in women in the United States fell 6.7% from 2002 to 2003. Prescriptions for HRT also declined rapidly in 2002 and 2003.

May 8, 2007—Risk of Lymphoma Increases with Hepatitis C Virus Infection—People infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are at an increased risk of developing certain lymphomas (cancers of the lymphatic system). Researchers found that HCV infection increased the risk of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma by 20% to 30%. The risk of developing Waldenström's macroglobulinemia (a rare type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) went up by 300% and the risk for cryoglobulinemia, a form of blood vessel inflammation, was also elevated for those with HCV infections.

June 14, 2007NCI Launches a Pilot of its Community Cancer Centers Program to Bring Quality Cancer Care to All—NCI today launched the 3-year pilot phase of a new program that will help bring state-of-the-art cancer care to patients in community hospitals across the United States. The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) was designed to encourage the collaboration of private-practice medical, surgical, and radiation oncologist—with close links to NCI research and to the network of 63 NCI-designated Cancer Centers principally based at large research universities.

October 2, 2007—National Cancer Institute Symposium Showcases HIV/AIDS Research and Introduces a New Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Cancer Virology—NCI held a symposium to showcase several important historic achievements in HIV/AIDS research made by former and current NCI scientists, introduce a new Center of Excellence for HIV/AIDS and cancer virology, and discuss new directions in the continuing effort to combat HIV infection, the devastating consequences of AIDS, and AIDS-related cancers.

October 15, 2007—Annual Report to the Nation Finds Cancer Death Rate Decline Doubling—Special Feature Examines Cancer in American Indians and Alaska Natives—A new report from the nation's leading cancer organizations showed cancer death rates decreased on average 2.1% per year from 2002 through 2004, nearly twice the annual decrease of 1.1% per year from 1993 through 2002.

November 27, 2007More Accurate Method of Estimating Invasive Breast Cancer Risk in African American Women Developed—A new model for calculating invasive breast cancer risk, called the CARE model, was found to give better estimates of the number of breast cancers that would develop in African American women 50 to 79 years of age than an earlier model which was based primarily on data from white women.

NCI Legislative Chronology

February 4, 1927—Senator M. M. Neely, West Virginia, introduced S. 5589, "To authorize a reward for the discovery of a successful cure for cancer, and to create a commission to inquire into and ascertain the success of such cure." The reward was to be $5 million.

March 7, 1928—Senator M. M. Neely introduced S. 3554, "To authorize the National Academy of Sciences to investigate the means and methods for affording Federal aid in discovering a cure for cancer and for other purposes.

April 23, 1929—Senator W. J. Harris, Georgia, introduced S. 466, "To authorize the Public Health Service and the National Academy of Sciences jointly to investigate the means and methods for affording Federal aid in discovering a cure for cancer and for other purposes."

May 29, 1929—Senator W. J. Harris introduced S. 4531, authorizing a survey in connection with the control of cancer and providing "That the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service is authorized and directed to make a general survey in connection with the control of cancer and submit a report thereon to the Congress as soon as practicable, together with his recommendations for necessary Federal legislation."

April 2, 1937—Senator Homer T. Bone of Washington introduced S. 2067, "Authorizing the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service to control and prevent the spread of the disease of cancer." It authorized an annual appropriation of $1 million. Congressman Warren G. Magnuson of Washington introduced an identical bill (H.R. 6100) in the House.

April 29, 1937—Congressman Maury Maverick of Texas introduced H.R. 6767, "To promote research in the cause, prevention, and methods of diagnosis and treatment of cancer, to provide better facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, to establish a National Cancer Center in the Public Health Service, and for other purposes." It authorized an appropriation of $2,400,000 for the first year and $1 million annually thereafter. The legal office of PHS had helped draft the bill on the basis of suggestions made by Dr. Dudley Jackson of San Antonio, Tex.

July 8, 1937—A joint hearing of the Senate and House committees was conducted before a subcommittee on cancer research and a revised bill was written.

July 23, 1937—The National Cancer Institute Act was passed by Congress.

August 5, 1937—The National Cancer Institute Act, P.L. 244, 75th Congress, was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, "To provide for, foster, and aid in coordinating research relating to cancer; to establish the National Cancer Institute; and for other purposes." An appropriation of $700,000 for each fiscal year was authorized.

March 28, 1938—House Joint Resolution 468, 75th Congress, was passed, "To dedicate the month of April in each year to a voluntary national program for the control of cancer."

July 1, 1944—The Public Health Service Act, P.L. 410, 78th Congress, provided that "The National Cancer Institute shall be a division in the National Institute of Health." The act also revised and consolidated many revisions into a single law. The limit of $700,000 annual appropriation was removed.

August 15, 1950—Public Law 692, 81st Congress, increased the term of office of National Advisory Cancer Council members from 3 to 4 years and the size of the Council from 6 to 12 members, exclusive of the ex-officio members.

December 23, 1971—President Richard M. Nixon signed P.L. 92-218-the National Cancer Act of 1971—providing increased authorities and responsibilities for the NCI director; initiating a National Cancer Program; establishing a 3-member President's Cancer Panel and a 23-member National Cancer Advisory Board, the latter replacing the National Advisory Cancer Council; authorizing the establishment of 15 new research, training, and demonstration cancer centers; establishing cancer control programs as necessary for cooperation with state and other health agencies in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer; and providing for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of all data useful in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, including the establishment of an international cancer data research bank.

July 23, 1974—The National Cancer Act Amendments of 1974 (P.L. 93-352) were signed by the President to improve the National Cancer Program and to authorize appropriations for the next three fiscal years. P.L. 93-352 also included provisions for disseminating information on nutrition as related to the therapy or causation of cancer, for trials of cytology test programs for the diagnosis of uterine cancer, and for peer review of grant applications and contract projects. It also established a President's Biomedical Research Panel.

August 1, 1977—The NCI mandate was extended for 1 year when the President signed the Health Planning and Health Services Research and Statistics Extension Act (P.L. 95-83).

November 9, 1978—The President signed the Community Mental Health Centers Act (P.L. 95-622) amending the National Cancer Act to emphasize education and demonstration programs in cancer treatment and prevention, and stipulating that NCI devote more resources to prevention, focusing particularly on environmental, dietary and occupational cancer causes. December 17, 1980—The Health Programs Extension Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-538) was signed into law, extending NCI authorization for 3 years.

November 20, 1985—The Health Research Extension Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-158) was signed into law. It affirmed the special authorities of NCI and emphasized the importance of information dissemination to the public.

November 4, 1988—The Health Research Extension Act of 1988 (P.L. 100-607) was signed into law. The 2-year extension reaffirmed the special authorities of NCI and added information dissemination mandates, as well as a requirement to assess the incorporation of cancer treatments into clinical practice and the extent to which cancer patients receive such treatments. A representative from the Department of Energy was added to the National Cancer Advisory Board as an ex officio member.

June 10, 1993—The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993, P.L. 103-43, was signed. The act encouraged NCI to expand and intensify its efforts in breast cancer and other women's cancers and authorized increased appropriations. Similar language is included for prostate cancer. The institute is also directed to collaborate with NIEHS, to undertake a case control study to assess biological markers of environmental and other potential risk factors contributing to the incidence of breast cancer in specific counties in the Northeast. In FY 1994 NCI is directed to allocate 7% of its appropriation to cancer control, in FY 1995, 9%, and in FY 1996, 10%.

August 13, 1998—The Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act (PL 105-41) was signed into law. The bill established a special alternative rate of postage up to 25% higher than a regular first-class stamp. Seventy% of the profits from the sale of the stamp, also referred to as semipostal, would go to NIH to fund breast cancer research; the remaining 30% would go toward DOD breast cancer research.

July 28, 2000—President Bill Clinton signed into law the Semipostal Authorization Act (P.L. 106-253), which gave the U.S. Postal Service the authority to issue semipostals. These stamps are sold at a premium in order to help provide funding for a particular area of research. The law also extended the Breast Cancer Stamp Act until July 29, 2002.

July 10, 2000—The Radiation Exposure Compensation Amendments of 1999 (P.L. 106-245) was signed into law. The bill allowed more workers who handled radioactive material for weapons programs to be eligible to receive federal compensation for radiation-induced illness. The law expanded previously written compensation acts, making more grades of workers eligible for compensation, and to include compensation for brain, lung, bladder, colon, ovary, and salivary gland cancers.

November 12, 2001—The President signed P.L. 107-67 making appropriations for the Treasury Department, the United States Postal Service, the Executive Office of the President, and certain Independent Agencies, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2002, and for other purposes. Within this bill was a provision to reauthorize the Breast Cancer Research Postage Stamp through July 29, 2008.

January 4, 2002—President George W. Bush signed P.L. 107-109 - S. 1789, the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act. This legislation was designed to improve the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals for children, by reauthorizing legislation that encourages pediatric drug research by giving drug companies an incentive of 6 months of additional market exclusivity to test their products for use in children.

May 14, 2002—The President signed the Hematologic Cancer Research Investment and Education Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-172) that directed the NIH Director, through the NCI Director, to conduct and support research on blood cancers. In addition, the CDC was directed to establish and carry out an information and education program.

September 10, 2002—The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (P.L. 107-188) was signed and contained a provision instructing Federal agencies to stockpile and distribute potassium iodide (KI) to protect the public from thyroid cancer in the event of a radiation emergency.

June 30, 2005—The Patient Navigator Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-18) amended the Public Health Service Act to authorize a demonstration grant program to provide patient navigator services to reduce barriers and improve health care outcomes. The bill directed the Secretary to require each recipient of a grant under this section to use the grant to recruit, assign, train, and employ patient navigators who have direct knowledge of the communities they serve to facilitate the care of individuals who have cancer or other chronic diseases. The bill also directed the Secretary to coordinate with, and ensure the participation of, the Indian Health Service, NCI, the Office of Rural Health Policy, and such other offices and agencies as deemed appropriate by the Secretary, regarding the design and evaluation of the demonstration programs.

November 11, 2005—The 2-Year Extension of Postage Stamp for Breast Cancer Research (P.L. 109-100) extended, through December 31, 2007, the U.S. Postal Service's authority to issue special postage stamps to help provide funding for breast cancer research.

January 12, 2007—The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act of 2005', or "Johanna's Law'" (P.L. 109-475) amended the Public Health Service Act to direct the HHS Secretary to carry out a national campaign to increase the awareness and knowledge of health care providers and women with respect to gynecologic cancers.

April 20, 2007—The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act of 2007 (P.L. 110-18) allowed the Secretary to waive requirements for awarding breast and cervical cancers grants for preventive health measures, such as expanding the level of screening and follow-up services, and established 2020 as the new target year to meet HHS objectives for reductions in the rate of mortality from breast and cervical cancer in the U.S.

NCI Directors

Name In Office from To
Carl Voegtlin January 13, 1938 July 31, 1943
Roscoe Roy Spencer August 1, 1943 July 1, 1947
Leonard Andrew Scheele July 1, 1947 April 6, 1948
John Roderick Heller May 15, 1948 July 1, 1960
Kenneth Millo Endicott July 1, 1960 November 10, 1969
Carl Gwin Baker July 13, 1970 May 5, 1972
Frank Joesph Rauscher, Jr. May 5, 1972 November 1, 1976
Arthur Canfield Upton July 29, 1977 December 31, 1980
Vincent T. DeVita, Jr. July 9, 1980 September 1, 1988
Samuel Broder December 22, 1988 April 1, 1995
Richard D. Klausner August 1, 1995 September 30, 2001
Andrew C. von Eschenbach January 22, 2002 June 10, 2006
John E. Niederhuber September 15, 2006 Present

National Cancer Institute Research Programs

The National Cancer Institute leads the National Cancer Program through its operation of 11 research components that provide support for extramural and intramural cancer-related research and through its outreach and collaborations within the cancer community worldwide.

Cancer research is conducted with NCI funding in nearly every state in the United States and more than 20 foreign countries, in addition to research conducted at its own facilities. NCI supports cancer research training, education, and career development, and provides leadership for setting national priorities in cancer research.

NCI Research Components

  • Division of Cancer Biology
  • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
  • Division of Cancer Prevention
  • Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
  • Division of Extramural Activities
  • Center for Cancer Research
  • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
  • Office of Centers, Training and Resources
  • Center for Strategic Science and Technology Initiatives
  • Office of Technology and Industry Relations
  • Office of Cancer Genomics
  • Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research
  • Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology
  • Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

Division of Cancer Biology

The Division of Cancer Biology (DCB) manages a multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research on cancer cell biology, including research on carcinogenesis and cancer immunology. Six Branches within DCB support a variety of broad-based investigator-initiated research grants from academic institutions, research institutes, and small businesses. Several high-profile NCI programs are also coordinated through the Division's Office of the Director.

The Cancer Cell Biology Branch encourages and supports basic research projects covering a broad spectrum of topics directed at understanding the biological basis of cancer. The portfolio includes the search for proteins and networks responsible for the cancer phenotype, investigation of aberrantly modified regulatory processes that promote cell proliferation or inhibit cell death, and the identification of connecting pathways that ensure tumor cell survival. The research utilizes non-mammalian organisms as well as mammalian models to undertake the functional analysis of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in parallel with studies on human tumor cells and tissues. Other areas of special focus include the subcellular location and trafficking of proteins in the cell, regulation of proteolysis, and cancer cell physiology. Investigations in all tumor cell types are included. The ultimate goal of the Cancer Cell Biology program is the discovery of new information that has practical application to disease detection or treatment.

The Cancer Etiology Branch develops and manages a national extramural research program dealing with biological, chemical, and physical agents that are possible etiological factors or co-factors in cancer and with the control of these agents and their associated diseases. Specific agents of interest include infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria and chemical carcinogens such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and hormones. Investigations include studies of the agents themselves and their properties, mechanisms of oncogenesis and carcinogenesis, interactions of oncogenic microbiological agents with their hosts, and basic studies to identify possible targets for preventive or therapeutic measures.

The Cancer Immunology and Hematology Branch supports basic research in tumor immunology and the biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology of the hematologic malignancies (leukemias, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma). Areas of major interest include the immune response to tumors; receptor biology/signal transduction cascades; cytokines; antibodies and antibody genes; T-cell biology; the biology of antigen-presenting cells and nonspecific effectors of the immune system (e.g., natural killer cells); granulocytes and macrophages; hematopoietic differentiation; oncogenes; the biology of hematopoietic tumors (including AIDS lymphomas); immunologic aspects of bone-marrow transplantation; and the stem cell biology of hematologic malignancies.

The DNA and Chromosome Aberrations Branch supports a basic cancer research program that emphasizes cancer genetics and genomic studies at the DNA and chromosome level, including discovery of genes at sites of chromosome breaks, deletions, and translocations; studies of DNA structure and mechanisms involved in chromosomal aberrations; DNA damage, mutagenesis and repair, chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation of gene expression; RNA interference, epigenetics, radiation- and chemical-induced changes in DNA replication and supporting analytical technologies. Other areas of special focus include the genetics of cancer susceptibility and resistance, and the generation of mammalian and non-mammalian model systems to study human cancer.

The Structural Biology and Molecular Applications Branch focuses on structural and molecular approaches to understanding processes involved in carcinogenesis and tumorigenesis. The Branch also supports integrated and systems biology approaches in cancer biology, employing high throughput technologies, information science, and computational modeling. Research interests include structural biology; genomics; proteomics; molecular and cellular imaging; nanotechnology; enzymology; bio-related and combinatorial chemistry; bioinformatics; and modeling and theoretical approaches to cellular and molecular cancer biology. The Branch also supports the development and application of technologies to advance cancer biology.

The Tumor Biology and Metastasis Branch supports research that seeks to understand the interactions of cancer cells with the tumor or host microenvironment to delineate the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways of tumor growth, angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, cell migration and invasion, and tumor progression and metastasis. This includes examination of cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions and matrix-degrading enzymes, and the roles played by cellular growth factors and cytokines, cell adhesion molecules, cytoskeleton, the nuclear matrix and lamins, the pathobiology of solid tumors and tumor bearing animals, and the development of technology to facilitate these studies. An area of emphasis is the microenvironment created by inflammation and the inflammatory signaling molecules in tumor initiation and progression, and elucidating the role of tumor stem cells in tumor initiation and metastasis. Emphasis is also placed on the following areas: the role of the extracellular matrix and tissue microenvironment in development and tissue morphogenesis; the role of glycoproteins and proteoglycans in tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis; the role of caveolae/lipid rafts and plasma membranes; and the role of steroid hormones, their receptors and coactivators during tumor growth, progression and the acquisition of the hormone independent phenotype. Models used in these studies may include animal models, tumor tissues/cells, their components, or their products. Special attention is also given to delineating mechanisms of organ-specific metastasis, and the development of organotypic models that closely mimic in vivo models is encouraged.

The Mouse Models of Human Cancers Consortium (NCI-MMHCC) is a cooperative group begun in 2000 to foster the high-risk efforts needed to develop accurate, reproducible models of human cancers, consists of 25 research groups and 300-plus members that connect more than 50 institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Altering the genes of laboratory mice results in animals with heritable malignancies that undergo the steps of cancer progression that mimic the natural histories of human cancers, and closely mirror the clinical course—response or resistance to therapy, and recurrence. The Consortium performs cross-species comparisons of the cancer process and tumors to disclose features of cancer biology that support immediate discovery in human research. The Consortium's experimental therapy efforts have exposed appropriate ways to use mouse cancer models for translational research; the mice guide selection of new therapy targets and testing of single agents and their combinations. The Consortium laboratories collaborate with many NCI SPORE groups to expose the genomic and proteomic signatures of disease subsets in mouse and human that account for variable responses to therapy. They explore the characteristics of pre-malignant lesions in the models for clues about the identity of the earliest stages of human cancer etiology and progression, information that is invaluable for understanding human pre-cancer biology, developing tools for early detection, and devising strategies for effective interventions. Consortium investigators use the models, and unmodified strains of mice, to study the genetic determinants of cancer susceptibility; these mouse gene networks allow epidemiologists to home in very rapidly on relevant susceptibility genes in human populations. And the mice are superb test-beds to explore the interactions among genes on an individual or population basis and to define the roles of environmental perturbations in susceptibility. Consortium groups incorporate state-of-the-art in vivo imaging to detect developing malignant lesions and determine their functional characteristics, follow their progression to invasive, metastatic tumors, explore the mechanisms of metastasis, and monitor response and resistance to therapy. The NCI-MMHCC works closely with the NCI Center for Bioinformatics to provide information resources for the entire cancer research community through the eMICE website (, with links to caMOD, a database for mouse, rat, and zebrafish cancer models (, caIMAGE, a cancer histology images database (, caELMIR, a mouse laboratory information management system, and the NCI Mouse Repository (, which accepts donations of mouse cancer models from the research community and deploys them worldwide.

The Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP) is a unique initiative designed to gain new insights into the development and progression of cancer through a systems-wide approach. An integrative and multi-disciplinary effort among all fields of cancer research is being applied, incorporating a spectrum of new technologies such as genomics, proteomics, and molecular imaging, to generate computer and mathematical models that could predict the cancer process.

There are 9 integrative biology centers consisting of approximately 120 investigators and associates that represent a broad spectrum of cancer research and provide the nucleus for the design and validation of computational and mathematical cancer models. The models will simulate complex cancer processes and are to be used to address all stages of cancer, from the basic cellular processes through tumor growth and metastasis. The key aspect that sets the ICBP effort apart from others is the focus on building predictive cancer models. The ICBP centers also serve as training and outreach programs, enabling developing technologies to be communicated to other scientists in the cancer research community. The outreach effort adds another level of integration and provides the means for other scientists to validate the usefulness of these models. The ICBP centers interact and collaborate with other NCI programs and external groups. NCI's Cancer Biomedical Information Grid (caBIG™) program coordinates all the bioinformatics software needed by the ICBP, as part of caBIG™'s ongoing effort to simplify and integrate the sharing and usage of data by providing access to NCI's cancer research communities.

The Tumor Microenvironment Network initiative focuses on expanding our understanding of the role of the tumor microenvironment in cancer initiation, progression, and metastases. Through this initiative, NCI intends to generate a more comprehensive understanding of the composition of the stroma in normal tissues, with the goal of delineating the mechanisms of tumor-stromal interactions in human cancer.

The Network comprises all the investigators funded by this initiative. The major goal of the Network is to develop resources for the research community, such as novel reagents and technologies, disseminating information and resources via an NCI-managed bioinformatics center experimental models suitable for studying tumor-host interactions, identification and characterization of stromal markers as well as development of molecular profiling and immunological tools to identify stromal markers, and dynamic and real time in vivo imaging techniques suitable for visualizing molecules, cells and tumors. This is being accomplished by the collaborative efforts among the Network members and by leveraging their expertise. The specific areas of science addressed in the initiative include elucidation of the mechanisms of tumor-stroma interactions in cancer, characterization of component cells and matrix molecules in normal organ and tumor-associated stroma, examination of alterations in the microenvironment that are critical for tumor development, progression and metastasis, characterization of the role of inflammatory and immune cells in tumor initiation, progression and metastasis, and identification of tumor stem cells (and stromal stem cells) and defining their role in stem cell-stroma interactions.

The GM/CA CAT Project (Beamline) provides accurate and rapid structure determination of cancer-related macromolecules that are essential to our understanding of the disease as well the identification and development of new chemotherapeutic drugs. The most robust technique for obtaining t high-resolution structural information is X-ray crystallography. This technology provides a detailed 3-dimensional atomic image of the structure of molecules by using powerful X-rays to take pictures of diamondlike crystals of the biomolecule of interest. This information can be used to locate specific molecular interactions that are likely drug targets, identify potential drug candidates, and finetune drugs to increase both effectiveness and specificity. To fully leverage the exciting potential of this technique, NCI, in collaboration with NIGMS, has invested in the construction and operation of a state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography experimental facility at the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Lab. This facility couples extremely powerful X-rays to state-of-the-art optics; robotic sample handling; extremely flexible data collection hardware; and the most advanced data collection, reduction, and analysis software available to produce detailed pictures of the molecular interactions that drive cancer initiation and progression. Cancer researchers now have access to the resources necessary for rapid automated structure determination of cancer-related biomolecules, significantly reducing the time of rational drug design and greatly enhancing NCI's capacity for translating basic mechanistic research into clinical therapies.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Cancer Biology can be found at or

Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences

The Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) strives to understand the causes and distribution of cancer in populations; support the development and implementation of effective interventions; and monitor and explain cancer trends. DCCPS both generates new knowledge and seeks to ensure that the products of cancer control research are effectively applied in all segments of the population.

The Office of Cancer Survivorship supports research that explores the long and short term physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatment. The Office provides a focus within the NIH for the support of research and education aimed at professionals who deal with cancer patients and survivors. In consultation with the medical and consumer communities, the Office articulates and coordinates a research strategy that will result in improvement in the quality of life, and a reduction in morbidity and mortality in cancer survivors.

The Applied Research Program evaluates patterns and trends in cancer associated health behaviors and practices, genetic susceptibilities, outcomes, and services. The Program monitors and evaluates cancer control activities in general and specific populations in the United States and determines the influence of these factors on patterns and trends in cancer incidence, morbidity, mortality, and survival. The Program comprised 3 branches: Health Services and Economics, Outcomes Research, and Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods.

The Behavioral Research Program supports investigations ranging from basic behavioral research to research on the development and dissemination of interventions in areas such as tobacco use, dietary behavior, sun protection, decision making, and counseling about testing for cancer susceptibility and participation in cancer screening. The Program comprises the Applied Cancer Screening Research Branch, Basic Biobehavioral Research Branch, Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch, Health Promotion Research Branch, and Tobacco Control Research Branch.

The Epidemiology and Genetics Research Program supports population-based research to increase our understanding of the etiology and prevention of cancer. Staff manages and fosters a range of etiologic research on genetic, environmental, infectious, hormonal, lifestyle, and pharmacologic factors in cancer etiology. The Program includes the Methods and Technologies Branch, the Modifiable Risk Factors Branch, the Host Susceptibility Branch, and the Clinical and Translational Research Branch.

The Surveillance Research Program supports cancer surveillance and health services research to answer key questions about cancer incidence and mortality in diverse regions and populations of the U.S. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER), a major component of the Program, collects cancer data on a routine basis from designated population-based cancer registries in various areas of the country. The Program includes the Cancer Statistics Branch and the Statistical Research and Applications Branch.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences can be found at

Division of Cancer Prevention

The Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP) is the primary NCI unit devoted to cancer prevention research. DCP works through 11 research groups that focus on either defined scientific subject areas or specific organ systems.

The Chemopreventive Agent Development Research Group focuses on the identification, preclinical development, and qualification of potential cancer preventive agents for phase I clinical studies. Research includes all classes of agents and a wide range of methodologies and technologies. This group also manages the Rapid Access to Preventive Intervention Development program (RAPID), which helps bridge the gap between discovery and clinical testing; supports clinical trial development, agent acquisition, Investigational New Drug (IND)—directed toxicology and related research; and provides technical support and research resources to extra- and intramural investigators and industry for chemopreventive agent development.

The Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group works to improve clinical oncology in community settings via the Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). Local medical facilities known as CCOPs promote interaction between community oncologists and clinical cooperative groups by allowing local physicians to participate in NCI-sponsored treatment, prevention, and symptom management clinical trials. NCI's large-scale prevention trials are coordinated through the CCOP program, including the Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) for breast cancer prevention and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) for prostate cancer prevention. The group also funds quality of life and palliative care research.

The Nutritional Science Research Group generates and tests hypotheses relating diet to the causation and prevention of cancer. It also works to establish a comprehensive understanding of the precise role of bioactive food components in determining cancer risk and tumor behavior. The group seeks to determine how specific genes and/or molecular targets are influenced by either essential or non-essential nutrients, allowing the identification of people who may benefit from a prevention intervention.

The Basic Prevention Science Research Group integrates fundamental research from intramural and extramural divisions to study the role of molecular markers in cancer prevention. Specific components of this approach include the molecular genetics of cancer risk and the molecular pathogenesis of precancer and cancer. Specimens under study by this group are generated from population studies as well as clinical trials, and the ultimate goal is to apply accumulated data to clinical trials in cancer prevention.

The Cancer Biomarkers Research Group is the principal resource in the NCI for biomarker information pertaining to cancer detection and risk assessment. This group of scientists supports research for the development and validation of promising early cancer biomarkers for risk prediction and early detection of cancer, including development of databases and informatics systems to track the utility of new biomarkers and new or refined technologies for studying the molecular circuitry of preneoplastic cells. The Early Detection Research Network, a program of translational research to identify early cancer and cancer risk, is managed by this group.

The Early Detection Research Group develops scientific information and concepts to aid in the dissemination of knowledge of early detection techniques, practices, and strategies to reduce mortality and morbidity from cancer. This group manages and supports clinical trials for early detection and analyzes research results on screening; fosters technology development and statistical modeling of new technologies; and encourages the publication of scientific findings and adoption of early detection practices. NCI's large-scale early detection trials are coordinated through this program, including the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial and the National Lung Screening Trial.

The Biometry Research Group plans and conducts independent and cooperative research studies on cancer epidemiology, prevention, screening, and diagnosis using methods of mathematical and analytic statistics. This Group provides consultation and advice on biostatistical methodology, study design, and biometry to investigators inside and outside of NCI.

The 4 organ-specific research groups in DCP are the Breast and Gynecologic Cancer Research Group, the Gastrointestinal and Other Cancers Research Group, the Lung and Upper Aerodigestive Cancer Research Group, and the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Research Group. Each group focuses on cancer sites within their defined organ group, overseeing and supporting research in chemoprevention, nutrition, and other prevention strategies that include nutritional, pharmacologic, biologic, and genetic approaches; vaccine development or immunologic intervention; cancer screening and early detection. These groups support clinical trials that lead to new technologies for identifying and modifying premalignant lesions as well as trials that develop agents based on measures of efficacy, such as cancer incidence reduction. Surrogate endpoint biomarkers studies also measure the modulation of the biomarkers as a potential indicator of efficacy.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Cancer Prevention can be found at

Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis

The Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) takes prospective detection and treatment leads, facilitates their paths to clinical application, and expedites the initial and subsequent large-scale testing of new agents and interventions in patients.

DCTD has 7 major programs that work together to bring unique molecules from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside:

The Cancer Diagnosis Program stimulates, coordinates, and funds specimen resources, databases related to those specimens, and research on diagnostics and improved technologies to better characterize tumors.

The Cancer Imaging Program uses new technologies to expand the role of imaging in noninvasive diagnosis, identification of disease subsets in patients, disease staging, and treatment monitoring.

The Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program functions as NCI's primary clinical evaluator of new anticancer agents, radiation treatments, and surgical methods. The program administers the 11 cooperative research groups that unite researchers around the nation and the world in the pursuit of distinctive and effective new treatments for cancer.

The Developmental Therapeutics Program serves as a vital resource in discovering potential cancer therapeutics and acquiring preclinical development information. The program provides research materials and manufactures new agents in bulk quantities for use in investigational new drug (IND)-directed studies.

The Radiation Research Program provides expertise to investigators who perform novel radiotherapy research and assists in establishing future radiation research directions.

The Biometrics Research Branch provides state-of-the-art statistical and biomathematical analyses for DCTD and other NCI components.

The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently relocated to DCTD. The Office aims to increase the amount of high-quality cancer research and information about the use of complementary and alternative modalities.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis can be found at or

Division of Extramural Activities

The Division of Extramural Activities (DEA) is responsible for providing guidance to potential cancer research grant applicants, coordinating and assisting in the development of NCI's extramural funding initiatives, referring applications to appropriate programs, providing scientific peer review and oversight of NCI's extramural research, coordinating advisory committees including the National Cancer Advisory Board and the Board of Scientific Advisors, establishing policies and procedures for extramural research, research integrity, and grant applications, and coding and tracking NCI's research portfolio.

DEA staff members serve as chief NCI liaisons to the extramural cancer research community, processing approximately 12,000 grant applications for referral and recruiting thousands of scientific experts to review about 3,000 grants per year. The DEA's Committee Management Office handles the complex preparation and logistics required for NCI's advisory groups to function productively and for the HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health, and Society to act in its prescribed role.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Extramural Activities can be found at or

Center for Cancer Research

The Center for Cancer Research (CCR), the major onsite intramural research program of NCI, is a distinctive and effective community of scientists who integrate basic research discovery with the development of novel interventions against cancer and AIDS. It is based in Maryland, on the Bethesda and Frederick campuses of NIH, and is the nation's in-house investment in cancer research. With over 3,000 employees, the CCR is one of the world's largest cancer research centers.

CCR is home to a critical mass and a unique mix of basic, translational, and clinical scientists who work in interdisciplinary teams to aggressively pursue new approaches for the prevention and treatment of cancer and AIDS. CCR teams already have produced many new drugs and technologies that are improving the lives of Americans and rapidly advancing research, providing hope for the future.

Leaders of CCR promote a collaborative research environment, which is integral to accelerating scientific progress. Focus areas give CCR the flexibility to reassess and respond rapidly to emerging scientific needs and opportunities, leveraging strengths of experts from diverse fields. This approach enables the organization to complement and interface with the activities of the extramural cancer research community. The agile infrastructure leaves CCR well poised to tackle complex scientific questions related to cancer and generate answers that will ultimately benefit patients and the public.

Scientific teams are encouraged to pursue high-risk research that will make a major impact, but may be too difficult or risky for industry or academia to undertake. That type of research clearly distinguishes CCR. The distinctive bench-to-bedside infrastructure enables CCR to be innovative and agile in the pursuit of cancer treatments. CCR invents new tools or harnesses existing ones to translate discoveries about the nature of cancer and its progression into workable solutions aimed at intervening earlier in the cancer process. Using cutting-edge technologies—functional imaging, genomics, serum proteomics, and new approaches to drug development—the research teams are able to drive their discoveries from the lab, to early phase clinical studies, all the way to a benefit for cancer patients.

The CCR has distinguishing strengths in several key areas, including immunotherapy, molecularly targeted therapies for cancers and viruses, and vaccines against cancer and HIV/AIDS. These strengths enable the development of strategies to detect cancer earlier, diagnose it more precisely, and prevent or treat it more effectively.

Technology Development and Support. Technology development and support is another important goal of the CCR intramural program. Current technology initiatives include clinical proteomics, molecular targets drug discovery, microarray technology, animal models development, and imaging technologies. The proteomics initiative involves the search for new serum markers for cancer, development of antibody chips, protein arrays and reverse phase chips, a mass spectrometry center, protein expression laboratory and bioinformatics support. The molecular targets discovery program provides a full range of drug discovery scientific support; advising scientists on molecular target discovery, development of screening assays, conducting screens of pure compound libraries, validation of hits, and assistance in preclinical and clinical development of promising lead compounds. The microarray initiative uses modern lab automation and robotic methods for the production of gene microarrays to allow simultaneous study of the differential expression of large numbers of genes in normal, diseased, or treated cells. The animal models initiative includes transgenic and knockout core services, molecular and comparative pathology support, mouse proteomics, rodent imaging, phenotyping core support, and an animal brain tumor therapeutic and diagnostic core. The imaging initiative incorporates clinical imaging, advanced imaging applications, experimental and innovative technologies, and animal imaging into an interrelated imaging resources program.

Mentoring and Training. The CCR places a particular emphasis on training the next generation of investigators in basic, interdisciplinary, and translational cancer research. Programs offered in the CCR include Accreditation Counsel on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency programs in anatomic pathology, radiation oncology, and dermatology. Additionally, ACGME clinical fellowship training programs in medical oncology, pediatric hematology/oncology, hematology/pathology, and cytology/pathology are available. Fellowship programs in surgical oncology, urological oncology, neuro-oncology, HIV and AIDS malignancy, gynecologic oncology, cancer epidemiology, cancer genetics and cancer prevention are also offered. Translational research opportunities include fellowships in Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Research, Postdoctoral Fellowships in Radiation Sciences, Clinical Cancer Research Fellowship for Ph.D.s, and a Training Program in Veterinary Pathology. Interdisciplinary fellowship programs include a Biostatistics/Mathematics Training Fellowship (Informatics Training Program) and a Program for Interdisciplinary Training in Chemistry.

The Center is actively involved in the recently established NIH-Graduate Program Partnership initiative, which attracts outstanding graduate students to CCR laboratories. Areas of partnership currently under development include bioinformatics, chemistry, and comparative pathology. The Cancer Research Training Award and the Visiting Fellows program for foreign trainees are available in all the Laboratories, Branches, and Programs.

The CCR Office of Training and Education (OTE) was created in November of 2001 to support the training and mentoring experience for postdoctoral fellows. The OTE mission is to have a programmatic impact on the overall training experience of the basic scientists and clinical fellows in cancer research. This mission is achieved by facilitating and promoting training opportunities for fellows utilizing NCI, NIH, and academic courses; planning and implementing new courses and training programs to prepare fellows as successful independent biomedical researchers; providing opportunities for secondary mentors and expanded collaborative interactions; providing funding mechanisms to reward outstanding research efforts by postdoctoral fellows; implementing funding mechanisms such as the Career Development Awards (K22) to facilitate the fellows' competitiveness as candidates for academic faculty positions; assisting trainees as they transition into academic positions and offering exposure to alternative career paths; and assisting investigators in the recruiting of new postdoctoral candidates. The major responsibilities of the OTE include the CCR Fellows and Young Investigators Retreat, the Tenure Track Investigators Retreat, exceptional pay increases for Postdoctoral Fellows, the CCR Fellows Editorial Board, and the Summer Intern Program. The OTE serves as a resource for the fellows' community and as a liaison to the Office of the Director. The Office of Training and Education will represent the Center both within the NIH and at outside meetings and institutions to recruit quality scientific and professional staff for the research programs.

Center of Excellence in Immunology (CEI). CCR Investigators have been at the forefront of the paradigm shift illuminating the multifaceted relationship between the immune response and cancer. In the past 30 years, these research advances have begun opening the door to developing immune-based treatments for this disease and providing groundbreaking contributions in areas as diverse as cellular immunity, innate immunity, cytokines, and viral immunology. Translation of advances in basic research to the clinic has yielded a portfolio of immunotherapy research at the CCR that is unparalleled. Some bench-to-bedside accomplishments from the CCR include successful treatment of hairy cell leukemia using immunotoxins, radio-immunotherapy of refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and targeting the IL-2 receptor with monoclonal antibodies to treat T cell leukemia, autoimmune disease and graft vs. host disease (GVHD). An exciting recent development is a cell-based therapy for the treatment of refractory melanoma that has resulted in improvement in 51% of patients involved in clinical trials. Given the bleak prognosis for those with late stage melanoma, these are remarkable and promising results.

The CCR is also host to several strong programs aimed at developing cancer vaccines. Basic research into the assembly of HPV has been translated into a vaccine designed to prevent infection by this virus. Further, therapeutic cancer vaccines from the NCI are in clinical trials throughout the nation. The unique blending of expertise in basic, translational and clinical research, as well as the ability of the NCI IRP to fund long-term, high risk research, have been key in developing each of these approaches to the immunotherapy of cancer.

The CEI was formed to capitalize on the strength of the immunology community at the CCR. Composed of a 19-member steering committee and a faculty of approximately 250, the CEI cuts across and is inclusive of many existing Laboratory/Program/Branch structures to promote information exchange and collaborations among immunologists in the CCR, as well as generate a multidisciplinary venue to further discovery, development, and delivery of novel immunologic approaches for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The CEI faculty includes two members of the National Academy of Sciences and five members of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. Thus, the CEI is uniquely suited to catalyze advances in basic, translational and clinical immunology and use this information to facilitate the development of successful immunotherapy for cancer.

Center of Excellence in Chromosome Biology (CECB). The CECB integrates CCR's intellectual and physical resources to support outstanding research in chromosome biology. Its mission is to achieve a comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms involved in chromosome function, how aberrations in chromosomes and chromatin lead to disease, and how these defects can be corrected. The CECB brings together internationally renowned experts in the fields of gene expression and regulation, chromatin/chromosome structure and function, DNA replication and repair, epigenetics and molecular cytogenetics to achieve this mission.

CECB research programs have direct implications for translational medicine. Examples include: examining the chromatin fiber as a promising molecular target for a variety of therapeutic drugs, such as the histone deacetylase inhibitors or modifiers of DNA methylation; developing ligands for steroid/nuclear receptor superfamily members that are critically involved in the development and progression of many human neoplasias, including ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer; exploring interphase genome organization in the early diagnosis of tumor cells and cancer stem cells; utilizing high-throughput imaging approaches to provide useful methodologies for drug discovery; employing high-resolution mapping of genomic imbalance and associated gene expression changes as an entry point for the molecular cloning of novel cancer genes and novel targets for improved detection, diagnosis, and prognosis; and applying these approaches and results towards the realization of an individualized medicine in patients with cancer.

The current CECB steering committee consists of ten CCR investigators, including two members of the National Academy of Sciences. The steering committee meets monthly to plan initiatives and to catalyze advances in basic and translational research related to chromosome biology in order to develop successful therapies for cancer and move them to the clinic.

Center of Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Cancer Virology (CEHCV). The mission of the CEHCV is to facilitate and rapidly communicate advances in the discovery, development, and delivery of antiviral and immunologic approaches for prevention and treatment of HIV infection, AIDS-related malignancies, and cancer-associated viral diseases. The CEHCV coordinates existing structures and areas of expertise across the NCI-Frederick and Bethesda campuses, and is composed of members from across the NCI's different branches, laboratories, and programs.

Current research is being conducted in the areas of AIDS malignancies, HIV virology and molecular pathogenesis, immunology/immunopathology, vaccines and immunotherapy, epidemiology, drug development/resistance, and cancer virology.

The CEHCV endorses NCI's longstanding commitment to making reagents and resources available, both nationally and internationally, as a means of diversifying the strategies that can be applied to these devastating diseases and of facilitating further efforts in this area. By leading new initiatives, projects, and collaborations, the CEHCV positions the IRP to play a significant role in interdisciplinary and multi-disciplinary translational research.

Intramural Cancer Nanotechnology Program (ICNP). Nanotechnology applied to complex biological systems and biomedical sciences will accelerate the progress in our understanding of cancer and the fight against it. For the potential benefits of oncological nanotechnology to be realized, the National Cancer Institute is poised to serve as a catalyst to bridge the gap between innovators of nanotechnology in the areas of physics and engineering, and those possessing the vision for novel strategies against cancer. In many of our new organizational initiatives, we are exploring opportunities to re-direct intramural resources to more effectively support NCI's overall research portfolio and mission. One good example is the reappearance of the Laboratory of Experimental and Computational Biology as Intramural Cancer Nanobiology Program (ICNP). The research portfolio in ICNP will leverage existing resources across CCR, NCI and extramural community to focus on the analyses of biomolecular approaches using lipid based-nonodevices such as nanocapsules and nano fusion machines. These nanodevices could be used for in vivo imaging, as diagnostic tools or to deliver molecularly targeted drugs to cancer cells in support of the NCI challenge goal of eliminating death and suffering due to cancer. The reorientation of existing resources will provide a critical mass of investigators with complementary expertise united by a common goal of developing biomolecular nanodevices. This strong nanotechnology-oriented discovery effort should complement the existing cancer Nanotechnology Plan and will be a distinctive complement to the nanotechnology Standards Laboratory and the overall molecular targets/molecular oncology efforts of the CCR and NCI.

Molecular Imaging Program. The goal of the Molecular Imaging Program is to develop and test targeted imaging agents for use in cancer patients. The MIP has a preclinical program in which new compounds are tested in vivo, a translational component in which compounds are introduced into the clinic and a clinical component in which larger trials are conducted.

  • Pre-clinical and Translational: Topics include imaging of angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis and growth factor targeting in mouse models using optical, MRI and radionuclide/PET imaging probes. Key to the development of these agents is conjugate chemistry that links specific targeting agents to imaging beacons.

  • Clinical Program: The Molecular Imaging Program is introducing new contrast agents into cancer clinical trials. Examples include F-L-Thymidine (FLT), a new PET proliferation marker, and radiolabeled Herceptin. New imaging techniques such as Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and MR spectroscopy are also integrated into clinical trials. Promising new pre-clinical agents may also be introduced into Phase I testing.

Facilities include an extensive chemistry and biology lab. We have microMRI, optical cameras and microPET. We are developing a new microSPECT unit. Future additions include an imaging center for human and animal imaging and animal holding/procedure facility.

Inflammation and Cancer Initiative. A new front in our campaign against cancer will integrate CCR's excellent basic, clinical, and core infrastructure with cross-cutting research activities around one of the major causes of cancer, namely, chronic inflammation caused by infections. A staggering 1.6 million or 18% of all cancer cases are linked to infection. Pro-inflammatory conditions such as obesity or gastric reflux also predispose individuals to cancer. In addition to causing cancer, chronic inflammatory state appears to play a role during the most deadly stage of cancer, cancer metastasis. We have identified CCR's existing research efforts related to basic, clinical, translational, and population aspects of chronic infection and cancer. Leveraging our significant strengths in the fields of immunology and carcinogenesis, 4 key areas of investigative opportunity have been identified for which the discovery and development of interventions (prevention and therapeutic) will have a significant impact on cancer with initiative directed at: cancer susceptibility, chronic inflammatory diseases; innate and adaptive immunity; stem cells; and inflammation-related molecular targets.

Partnerships with Academia and Industry. CCR is committed to forming partnerships that encourage technology development with industry, academia and the private sector. CCR scientists and clinicians have a history of successful research collaborations with colleagues nationally and internationally. The CCR is also active in the area of technology transfer and strives to ensure that scientific breakthroughs reach the public through formal agreements between the government and industry. During the last year there were over 140 active Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) between CCR investigators and outside institutions. These CRADA collaborations were with more than 85 different organizations.

In addition, CCR has further excelled through partnership by participating in many informal collaborations and formal collaborations by way of material transfer agreements, licensing agreements, and memorandums of understanding.

Unique Aspects of the Intramural Research Program. The juxtaposition of basic and clinical researchers in this large, diverse yet highly interactive Center provides exceptional translational research and training opportunities. With the resources available at the NIH Clinical Center, which houses over 50% of the NIH-funded general clinical research center beds in the U.S., CCR scientists have a unique environment to move new drugs and diagnostics quickly from the bench to the bedside. Medical care is provided without charge to patients enrolled on NCI protocols.

CCR is a center of excellence for vaccine development and cell-based cancer immunotherapies utilizing specialized expertise, techniques and facilities that exist within the Intramural Program. An example of the uniqueness of the Intramural Program is seen in the basic and clinical proteomics initiative—a collaboration between the NCI and the FDA built on Laser Capture Microdissection technology. Laser Capture Microdissection, developed in the CCR Laboratory of Pathology, involves identification and extraction of microscopic homogenous cellular subpopulations from surrounding tissue.

This technology is now being used to isolate tumor versus normal cellular subpopulations to identify potential molecular targets for cancer therapies. The long-range commitment needed to develop the technology to accurately identify specific targets for various cancers requires support that is unique to the Intramural Research Program. Another component of the proteomics initiative is the identification of novel markers for early cancer detection.

These types of long-term, high-risk projects can accelerate the pace of medical research with public health importance and have an immeasurable impact on improving the nation's health care.

The Future. With the creation of CCR, communication, collaborations, and translational research opportunities among the intramural scientists have been increased. To go from bench to bedside and back requires an environment that is not available to most individual investigators or at most research institutions. CCR is unique in having strong basic and clinical components within the same institutional organization and an institutional infrastructure that facilitates the translation of discoveries from the laboratory to the clinic and, in turn, submits clinical observations back to the laboratory for further analysis.

The CCR and the Intramural Research Program are an invaluable resource for generating initiatives that will help guide and shape the direction of the NCI. CCR will continue to serve as a model for interdisciplinary and translational biomedical research programs, and lead the development of new technologies, provide advanced training for the next generation of cancer scientists, and pioneer new avenues for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Additional information about NCI's Center for Cancer Research can be found at

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics

Through its broadly based programs in epidemiology, genetics, statistics, and related areas, the intramural Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) carries out population-based and interdisciplinary research both nationally and internationally to discover the genetic and environmental determinants of cancer. DCEG is uniquely positioned to conduct value-added epidemiologic research projects that are high-risk in nature and require (a) long-term commitments of scientific staff and funding support through contracts, (b) a coordinated national programmatic approach, or (c) a rapid response to emerging public health or scientific issues. The Division develops multi-disciplinary infrastructures and resources for use throughout the scientific community, including database management software for genome-wide association studies, biospecimen inventories, and family-based studies, a variety of software packages for exposure assessment and for estimation of dietary intake, and interactive cancer atlases to generate leads into the environmental determinants of cancer. DCEG also has a firm commitment to training the next generation of scientists, and has developed specialized tracks in genetic epidemiology, radiation epidemiology, molecular epidemiology, and biostatistics. The research conducted by the Division often provides a scientific basis for public health recommendations and policies.

The Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program consists of 6 branches that conduct independent and collaborative epidemiologic and biostatistical investigations to identify the distribution, characteristics, and causes of cancer in human populations. The Program investigates demographic variation in the occurrence of cancer by age, race, gender, geography, and over time (descriptive studies). Special emphasis is placed on the studies into carcinogenic effects of occupational and environmental exposures, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, dietary and nutritional factors, medicinal agents such as hormones, infectious agents, and host factors including genetic susceptibility to cancer-causing exposures. The Program also develops biostatistical methods for family-based and population-based studies.

The Human Genetics Program provides an expanded focus for interdisciplinary research into the genetic determinants of human cancer. Its 2 branches explore and identify heritable factors that predispose to cancer, including studies of gene-environment interactions. Program investigators study cancer-prone families to identify and clone predisposing genes; investigate the prevalence of identified genes in the general population; conduct pharmacogenetic studies to evaluate genetic polymorphisms as determinants of cancer risk and treatment outcomes; develop new methodologies in genetic epidemiology; and translate advances in molecular genetics into evidence-based management strategies, such as genetic testing and counseling, cancer screening and prevention strategies, and assessment of social and behavioral aspects of heritable cancer. The Laboratory of Translational Genomics examines validated regions of the genome associated with cancer risk, laying the groundwork for further functional studies to determine the causal variants and biological mechanisms involved. These activities are complemented by the NCI Core Genotyping Facility, which provides the tools necessary to look across the genome at large numbers of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to uncover the genomic causes of cancer.

The DCEG Fellowship Program allows participants to design, conduct, and analyze research related to the etiology of cancer in human populations. Fellows participate in protocol development and data collection; feasibility studies; case-control and prospective cohort studies; family-based studies; genetic and biochemical assays; and manuscript preparation and publication. Opportunities exist to initiate new investigations, compete for funding, and present at scientific meetings. Professional skills development and preparation for a future career in epidemiology are an integral part of the program. Postdoctoral training lasts for up to 5 years under the mentorship of NCI senior scientists, with opportunities to work with multiple researchers on a variety of projects. The fellowships may be tailored to one or more specialty tracks including molecular, genetic, occupational, environmental, radiation, viral, and nutritional epidemiology, as well as biostatistics and cancer health disparities.

Additional information about NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics can be found at

Office of Centers, Training and Resources

The Office of Centers, Training, and Resources (OCTR) is located within the Office of the Director, NCI. OCTR is responsible for planning, directing, coordinating, and evaluating an extramural grants portfolio that is critical to the NCI's mission to eliminate death and suffering due to cancer. This portfolio provides support for the development of key research infrastructure needed to advance scientific understanding of the causes and mechanisms of cancer, and to transform that knowledge into clinical tools to diagnose, prevent and treat cancer more effectively. OCTR also promotes cancer research through its training and career development grants. Furthermore, OCTR advances national cancer research priorities by stimulating collaborations within and across the NCI/NIH, and between the NCI and other institutions, such as federal, state, and international agencies; patient advocacy groups; and research and professional organizations.

The Office has 4 branches:

  • The Cancer Centers Branch administers complex multidisciplinary grants designed to synergize scientific interactions by providing essential support for cancer research programs and shared resources. Core grants to NCI-designated cancer centers support most of the nation's cancer-related research in basic, clinical, and population science.

  • The Organ Systems Branch administers Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants in order to promote translational research, which links laboratories to clinics and populations (and vice versa) in order to develop devices and agents that prevent and treat cancer. Translational research also seeks to improve scientific understanding of the complexities of cancer initiation and development. In addition, the SPORE program also provides training opportunities for investigators in translational science and the development of tissue resources.

  • The Cancer Training Branch (CTB) focuses on training, education, and career development in basic, translational, clinical, and prevention/control science. Training is provided through National Research Service Awards and other extramural institutional grants designed to increase the number of cancer researchers working in multidisciplinary and translational research settings. Additionally, CTB grants support fellowship training and individual career development, thereby fostering the next generation of cancer investigators. To this end, CTB also manages the NCI Loan Repayment Program, which covers a portion of the educational debt incurred by health professionals preparing for careers in clinical research.

  • The Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch (CMBB) stimulates the training, education and career development of individuals from minority and under-represented populations who wish to pursue a career in cancer research. These programs span the entire spectrum of candidates, from high school, undergraduate, pre- and post-doctoral students/trainees to new investigators capable of competing successfully for peer-reviewed grant support. In addition to these training programs, CMBB provides institutional support for minority serving institutions through partnership grants with NCI-funded cancer centers. Finally, CMBB also serves as an information resource for minority scientists aspiring to a career in cancer research.

Center for Strategic Science and Technology Initiatives

In recent years, the NCI has challenged itself to revolutionize the way we detect, treat and prevent cancer. By placing a heavy emphasis on advanced technology development, NCI is accelerating the creation and use of tools that are already starting to hasten the translation of basic knowledge into clinical advances. These technologies are by definition cross-cutting and multi-disciplinary, and therefore require a systematic management approach. In 2005, NCI established the Center for Strategic Science and Technology Initiatives to centralize its new technology-driven initiatives in nanotechnology, proteomics, cancer genomics and biospecimen resources, ensuring collaboration and alignment among research groups; among academic laboratories and NCI comprehensive cancer centers and affiliated Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs); and between the public and private sectors.

The Center comprises 3 offices:

  • Office of Technology and Industry Relations
  • Office of Cancer Genomics
  • Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research

Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology

NCI's Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT) provides informatics leadership and support for the diverse basic and clinical research initiatives of NCI. It advises the NCI Director on all aspects of the Institute's biomedical informatics and information technology program. CBIIT combines the NCI Center for Bioinformatics and the Information Systems and Computer Support (ISCS) office. ISCS plans, buys, maintains, and manages all the internal scientific and business IT for the Institute.

Since 2001, the NCI Center for Bioinformatics (NCICB) has worked to speed scientific discovery and facilitate translational research by building many types of tools and resources that enable information to be shared along the continuum from the scientific bench to the clinical bedside and back. Molecular medicine which holds great promise for delivering new, more effective and targeted patient therapies is generating massive of amounts of data that overwhelm the IT resources of most biomedical institutions. NCICB aims to provide the broad cancer research community with the software tools and resources to more efficiently manage and analyze this data so that scientists can more readily draw insight from this information and improve patient outcomes.

NCICB's distinctive open access, standards-based technical approach is coupled with a firm commitment to collaboration across disciplines, institutions, and sectors. The Center spearheads critical public-private partnerships to develop and disseminate informatics for managing, analyzing, and sharing the wealth of information generated in the fight against cancer.

As part of this larger endeavor, NCICB leads the cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid™ (caBIG™) initiative. As of June 2007, there were over 190 organizations participating in the caBIG™ community, including 51 Cancer Centers, and 30 other Federal, academic, not-for-profit, and industry entities, represented by close to 1,000 individuals. More than 300 software products have been delivered, including over 40 end-user applications, and a wide range of infrastructure components such as data standards and software development toolkits. Many of these tools are in use at cancer research sites, and activities are under way to provide installation and support services to facilitate more widespread use throughout the research community. Research organizations can now use software applications that connect to caGrid, the underlying network that enables seamless, secure exchange of the large and complex datasets that are common in modern biomedical research.

Central to caBIG™ is the concept of interoperability; that is, compatibility among information technology tools used to collect, analyze and share data. This compatibility provides a means to link together all the scientists, clinicians, patients and other participants so that they can conduct more dynamic, collaborative and ultimately more successful research. Additional information about caBIG™ can be found at

NCICB's core infrastructure forms a platform for more specific biomedical informatics tools, applications and activities we undertake in support of research initiatives—as well as for demonstration projects conducted by NCI groups and the broader biomedical research community. Our Applications Support function provides support and training for NCI staff and members of the cancer research community utilizing NCICB infrastructure, tools, applications, and activities.

NCICB serves as a focal point for cancer research informatics planning worldwide. Additionally, NCICB serves as the bioinformatics basis of many key NCI initiatives including NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, Clinical Proteomics Technologies for Cancer, Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR), Office of Cancer Genomics and the Clinical Trials Working Group.

Additional information about the NCI Center for Bioinformatics can be found at

Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities

The Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) supports the NCI mission to lessen the burden of cancer, and is committed to enhancing the understanding of the causes of disparities and addressing inequities in the cancer burden among populations experiencing cancer disparities.

CRCHD seeks to spawn new studies across NCI research divisions that identify scientific and training opportunities for reducing and ultimately eliminating cancer health disparities. In addition, the Center supports research, including investigator initiated research to define, reduce and monitor disparities; develops and implements new community and clinical interventions, and evaluates their impact; sustains ongoing research and training efforts in cancer health disparities through partnerships and collaborations; expands minority participation, both as investigators and as patients, in health disparities research and clinical trials; supports evidence-based prevention, screening, treatment and survivorship interventions to aid understanding and reduction of cancer health disparities, and promotes its dissemination; and coordinates comprehensive reporting of NCI research in minority health and health disparities.

Two current CRCHD initiatives are the Community Networks Program (CNP) and the Patient Navigation Research Program (PNRP). The CNP is a 5-year initiative designed to reduce cancer-related health disparities in minority and underserved populations through community-based participatory research education, research, and training. Expanding upon previous NCI-funded community research, the CNP aims to improve access to and utilization of beneficial cancer interventions and treatments in communities experiencing cancer -related health disparities. The PNRP initiative represents a new approach to providing individualized assistance to patients, survivors and their families to improve access to quality standard cancer care. This 5-year program is developing innovative patient navigator interventions designed to decrease the time between a cancer-related abnormal finding, definitive diagnosis, and delivery of quality standard care services and to test their efficacy and cost-effectiveness.

CRCHD's future plans include a merger with the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch, and an emphasis on the training of new minority investigators to better address cancer health disparities.

For more information about CRCHD and its programs and about cancer health disparities, visit

For information about CMBB and its training programs, visit

This page was last reviewed on June 12, 2008 .
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