NCI Assists in Hurricane Relief Efforts
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is working closely with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and other government and civilian agencies to bring relief to displaced cancer patients and others. As an immediate response, NCI has posted key federal assistance information and phone numbers on its Web site at http://www.cancer.gov/katrina with specific information in support of cancer patients.
"This disaster has touched the entire nation," said NCI Director Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach. "NCI is engaged in a number of opportunities, working within the framework of lead federal agencies and with civilian organizations and relief agencies, to assist cancer patients and medical professionals in the region who have been significantly affected."
NCI's Cancer Information Service (CIS) is providing staff and its 1-800-4-CANCER toll-free number toward relief efforts. CIS has also partnered with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to establish a contact point for oncologists. The NCI-ASCO collaboration serves several purposes:
NCI is also establishing a phone number for patients and physicians searching for alternative sites for NCI clinical trials. Patients participating in an NCI-sponsored clinical trial in a hospital or oncology practice located in the hurricane-affected region should call 301-496-5725.
Other plans are underway to support displaced NCI grantees and extramural researchers from the region who may need temporary placement elsewhere to continue their research. NIH has taken a lead role in such placements for the entire biomedical community, and has created the following Web pages to help manage requests and offers of assistance: (http://www.nih.gov/about/director/hurricanekatrina/index.htm and http://grants.nih.gov/grants/katrina/index.htm).
Other major NIH efforts include:
By Barbara Cire