National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
February 23, 2010 • Volume 7 / Number 4

Notes

NCI 2011 Budget Proposal Available Online

Cover of 'The Nation's Investment in Cancer Research'NCI recently released The Nation's Investment in Cancer Research, an annual report intended to inform the President about the progress and opportunities in our continuing efforts against cancer and to justify the administration’s budget request to Congress for additional funding for the nation’s battle against cancer. This plan and budget outlines NCI's vision for the future and the collective judgment of NCI staff, its advisory groups, and representatives of the cancer research and advocacy community. The report, “Connecting the Nation’s Cancer Community,” describes how NCI is using unexpected new financial resources from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a steady stream of scientific and technological advances to make strides in cancer risk reduction, early detection, patient care, and survivorship.

NCAB Convenes Its First Meeting of 2010

The National Cancer Advisory Board’s (NCAB) first meeting of the year was held in Bethesda, MD, on February 18, after being postponed by the record-making snowstorms that shut federal government offices the week before. In addition to NCI Director Dr. John Niederhuber’s update on the NCI budget, NCAB members heard presentations on a variety of topics, including NCI’s Cancer Human Biobank, opportunities to collaborate with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Suburban Hospital, data from the most recent Annual Report to the Nation, and an update on NCI’s Community Cancer Centers Program. The agenda and a videocast of the meeting are now available.

NCI Funds Eleven Centers for Cancer Systems Biology

NCI’s Integrative Cancer Biology Program banner

On February 18, NCI renewed its commitment to the study of cancer systems biology by awarding grants to 11 institutions to become part of its Integrative Cancer Biology Program (ICBP), which the institute launched in 2004 as NCI’s primary effort in this emerging field. Each institution will establish a Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB), which will use integrative and multidisciplinary approaches to study cancer as a systemic disease. New technologies such as genomics, proteomics, and molecular imaging will be used to investigate, design, and validate computational and mathematical cancer models. These predictive models will simulate all stages of cancer and provide key insights into the spectrum of cancer progression, from tumor initiation through growth and metastasis.

In addition, the CCSBs will serve as training and outreach centers to inform other scientists in the cancer research community about integrative cancer biology. Further information on the success of the program thus far and the future of the ICBP can be found on the ICBP Web site.

President’s Cancer Panel Concludes Series on Disparities and Cancer

The President’s Cancer Panel held its fourth and final meeting of the 2009–2010 series, “America’s Demographic and Cultural Transformation: Implications for the Cancer Enterprise,” on February 2 in Miami, FL. The panel heard testimony on the disparity in cancer rates experienced across and within populations. Speakers discussed lack of health insurance, high poverty rates, geographic isolation, and cultural factors as major contributors to such disparities.

Additionally, speakers noted the tremendous genetic and behavioral heterogeneity that exists within racial/ethnic groups and the implicit bias that may permeate cross-cultural provider-patient relationships. The panel learned of NCI’s efforts to enhance research on cancer health disparities and cancer education and outreach to underserved communities. Speakers recommended cultivating a workforce of minority researchers and clinicians and partnerships between researchers and communities. The panel will summarize findings and recommendations from the 2009–2010 series in its annual report to President Obama.