Care and Treatment
The development of more efficient and effective cancer treatments—treatments that destroy cancer cells while leaving surrounding healthy tissue unharmed—is a critical element of NCI’s research agenda, particularly the development of therapies tailored to the cancers of individual patients. Our understanding of the molecular changes in cancer is leading to the dawn of an age of genetically informed cancer medicine for both treatment and cancer prevention. We are now designing precise therapies to hone in on specific targets that drive tumor cell proliferation and survival, including not only targets in cancer cells, but also targets in surrounding cells, the so-called tumor microenvironment.
We are also learning that the complexity of molecular interactions within and among cancer cells, and between cancer cells and normal cells, will require refinement of multi-agent treatment approaches against cancer. As a result, development of future treatments will require innovative strategies and partner-ships—among academics, the public sector, and industry. Fashioning this new approach will require NCI’s involvement and leadership at every step, particularly when it comes to combinations of experimental drugs produced by more than one company.