NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
December 14, 2004 • Volume 1 / Number 48 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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NCI Announces Awards to Speed Cancer Biomarker Discovery
NCI announced last week that SAIC-Frederick, Inc., has made 2-year awards under a competitive solicitation totaling $13.4 million to 2 research teams from 10 cancer research institutions. The awards reflect a new collaborative approach to develop the standard tools and resources needed to accelerate protein biomarker discovery to provide new and highly specific approaches to the early detection and diagnosis of cancer. SAIC-Frederick is NCI's operations and technical support contractor in Frederick, Md.

The research teams will use transgenic mouse models of human cancers to study current proteomic technologies, compare results, and provide reference data sets and biological resources for widespread research use. This will enable comparability of results among laboratories currently using different proteomic technologies. The common data sets and resources will also make it easier to develop and test the next generation of biomarker discovery technologies. This framework will provide direction for the development of specific strategies to target biomarkers that signal the earliest stages of cancer in humans.

This 2-year effort will result in the first reliable and broad-based technological platform for the discovery and clinical validation of protein biomarkers for cancer. Information will be closely integrated and distributed through caBIG, an open-source, open-access, information network linking teams of cancer and biomedical researchers.

"Proteomics holds enormous potential for the early detection of cancer, but researchers must have standard reagents and reproducible technologies to accelerate the discovery and development of these biomarkers into clinical use," said NCI Deputy Director Dr. Anna Barker. "We believe that this unique network - with its teams of experts - will speed up the development of effective proteomic technologies for the benefit of cancer patients and their families."

One of the proteomics research teams is headed by Dr. Samir Hanash of the University of Michigan. Other researchers on the team are from Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Van Andel Research Institute, and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Drs. Martin McIntosh and Amanda Paulovich of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are leading the other proteomics research team, whose members include researchers from the Institute for Systems Biology, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Plasma Proteome Institute.

Draft NIH Public Access Policy Elicits Comments
NIH is proposing a public access policy to create a stable, permanent archive of peer-reviewed, NIH-funded research publications. The archive will enable NIH to more efficiently track and manage its research portfolio, monitor its scientific productivity, and ultimately help set research priorities; and to make the published results of NIH-funded research readily accessible to scientists, health care providers, and the public. NIH intends that the proposed policy will preserve the critical role of journals and publishers in peer review, editing, and scientific quality control processes.

The draft policy requests, but does not require, that NIH-funded investigators submit electronically to NIH the final, peer-reviewed author's copy of their scientific manuscripts. The copy would be embargoed from release by NIH for 6 months after the publisher's date of publication. The copy would be publicly available in the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central.

NIH developed the proposed policy and published it in the NIH Guide to Grants and Contracts and the Federal Register for public comment this fall. NIH received more than 6,000 comments and is in the process of reviewing them; a final policy is expected in the coming weeks. More specific information can be found at

Input Needed on Future of Clinical Trials
The Clinical Trials Working Group (CTWG), seeks input via its interactive Web site to obtain feedback about revising the cancer clinical trials system. The Web site,
, asks users to log in by choosing from a menu a description that best identifies the group they represent. Users are also required to enter a password (CTWGstakeholder) prior to providing their thoughts. The password is also given on the log-in page. All responses will be confidential. The Web site is open for feedback through January 15, 2005.

President Nominates Leavitt to Lead HHS
President Bush yesterday nominated Michael O. Leavitt to replace outgoing Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson. Mr. Leavitt, formerly governor of Utah, is currently Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Confirmation hearings will begin when Congress reconvenes in January.