NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
August 10, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 32 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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New DSMB Appointed for NLST
The Data and Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) for the NCI-sponsored National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) has been reinstated, largely unchanged from its original configuration. As reported in the April 6 NCI Cancer Bulletin, DSMB members resigned on March 26 because of concern that the professional services contract under which they were secured did not include liability coverage for individual board members. Following the resignation, an interim DSMB, composed of scientists from the NIH, was appointed.

Dr. Christine Berg, of the Division of Cancer Prevention, one of the two NCI divisions administering NLST, said that DSMB members have now returned to their positions under a consulting agreement with the Rockville, Md., company Westat that includes liability insurance. "This agreement addresses the issue of liability that was of concern to DSMB members. With this agreement in place, the DSMB membership will be able to focus on the valuable service they provide to NCI and the NLST," commented Dr. Berg.

DSMBs provide expert review of a clinical trial's plan for monitoring patient safety and data collection as well as interim analyses of outcome data and cumulative toxicity data summaries. Liability issues relating to activities of members of all DSMBs are currently being considered by NIH. For more information on NCI and NIH policies on data and safety monitoring of clinical trials, go to (NCI) and (NIH).

Cancer Information Service CIS Nears 10 Millionth Caller
Since its inception in 1976, NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) has provided the latest and most accurate cancer information to patients, families, the public, and health professionals. Now, CIS is nearing a milestone in its history, expecting to receive its 10 millionth call for information within the next few months.

In 1976, CIS served 47,000 callers. In 2003, CIS received nearly 280,000 requests for service through several access points (telephone, online chat, e-mail).

CIS's trained information specialists are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time, and can provide information in either English or Spanish. Callers also have the option of listening to recorded cancer information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For cancer information from CIS, call 1-800-4-CANCER (TTY users: 1-800-332-8615). In addition, CIS information specialists offer online assistance at Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time through their LiveHelp service.

Merlino Appointed Acting Lab Chief
Dr. Glenn Merlino has been appointed Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis in NCI's Center for Cancer Research. Dr. Merlino's work focuses on identifying candidate molecular targets or pathways for both mechanistic enlightenment and future therapeutic utility. His efforts are concentrated on two tumor types: cutaneous malignant melanoma and the pediatric malignancy rhabdomyosarcoma. Dr. Merlino is widely recognized for his achievements in providing unique models on these two tumor types and making outstanding scientific contributions. He has also been instrumental in his leadership role on the Animal Models Initiative, a program that fosters high-quality, cutting-edge basic research within the NCI intramural research program on the creation and use of mouse and other animal models of cancer and related disorders.

Workshop Held for Minority Investigators
To encourage minority investigator applications and successful competition for NCI funding, NCI's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Office of Women's Health, and Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities sponsored the Minority Investigator Career Development Workshop on July 21-23, 2004. The workshop provided information on the NCI grants process, technical skills training for grant writing, and sessions to enhance professional growth and development.

Approximately 130 midcareer and transitioning investigators from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups attended. Case studies of experiences obtaining funding were presented, as well as promotion and tenure experiences of other minority investigators. Specific topics included overviews of the NCI grants process and funding mechanisms; locating current funding opportunities at NCI; building collaborative research partnerships; grant writing; research methodology including statistical and qualitative methods, instrument development, and clinical trials design; mock grant reviews; and research publication.