NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research NewsNCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
June 7, 2005 • Volume 2 / Number 23 E-Mail This Document  |  Download PDF  |  Bulletin Archive/Search  |  Subscribe

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NCI to Form Translational Research Working Group

Speaking this morning at the NCAB meeting, NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach announced the formation of a new Translational Research Working Group (TRWG).

Over the next year, TRWG, chaired by Dr. Ernest Hawk, director of NCI's Office of Centers, Training, and Resources, will review the NCI translational research portfolio to determine the best ways to manage and leverage the opportunities it offers. The working group will function similarly to CTWG, Dr. von Eschenbach explained, working in a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive fashion.

NCI has made a significant investment in translational research, Dr. von Eschenbach said, such as the SPOREs, program project grants, contracts, and many other mechanisms such as the RAID program. "We must find ways to synergize, integrate, and coordinate" these efforts, he said, "so that they nurture the delivery end of discovery-development-delivery and fully utilize the outputs from the discovery portion of the continuum."

TRWG's work will complement CTWG's recommendations for the clinical trials program. One of the goals of both efforts, Dr. von Eschenbach told the committee, is to ensure that changes are made to the delivery component of cancer research to allow findings to be "looped right back into the discovery process." Doing so, he said, will provide "the opportunity to unravel the fundamental mechanisms and mysteries of cancer."

Coleman Awarded ASTRO Gold Medal
Dr. C. Norman Coleman, associate director of NCI's Radiation Research Program in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, and Director of the Radiation Oncology Sciences Program, has been awarded the ASTRO Gold Medal by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). The Gold Medal is ASTRO's highest honor and is presented to members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology.

Dr. C. Norman Coleman Dr. Coleman joined NCI in 1999. Previously he was professor and chairman of the Joint Center for Radiation Therapy at Harvard Medical School, preceded by his tenure as associate professor of radiology and medicine at Stanford University. His clinical accomplishments have been in the treatment of high-grade malignant lymphomas, Hodgkin's disease, and prostate cancer and in the description of secondary malignancies. He has been a leader in bringing molecular therapeutics to radiation therapy in both the clinic and laboratory, as well as in bringing a molecular focus to technology development for radiation therapy. He is currently assisting HHS to develop medical countermeasures and response to possible radiological/nuclear events.

NCI Testifies on Radiation Effects from Nuclear Weapons Testing
At a May 25 congressional hearing, Dr. André Bouville, lead radiation dosimetrist with NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, testified that radioactive fallout from U.S. nuclear weapons testing in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific between 1947-1957 might be associated with as many as 500 excess cancers over the lifetimes of the members of the exposed population - approximately a 9-percent increase over the estimated 5,600 lifetime cancer cases predicted to occur naturally in a comparable nonexposed population.

NCI provided this and other estimates, as requested last year by a U.S. Senate committee, in response to a petition from the Republic of the Marshall Islands for additional U.S. compensation for damages caused by the nuclear weapons tests. At the recent hearing before two House committees, Dr. Bouville cautioned that the numbers of additional estimated cancers, expected to occur over the lifetime of exposed inhabitants, are highly uncertain due to limitations in radiation dose estimates, baseline cancer rates, and other factors. For detailed information, go to


Correction: In the May 31 NCI Cancer Bulletin, the percentage of women with mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and other information related to this risk group was expressed incorrectly in the story, "MRI Detects Breast Tumors in High-Risk Women." The article should have stated that less than 1 percent of women have mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2, which confers a 60-85 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer. The correct information has been posted in a revised online version. We regret the error.