In Memoriam: Arthur Schatzkin, Branch Chief in DCEG
Dr. Arthur Schatzkin, chief of the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch (NEB) in NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), passed away on January 20 from cancer. Dr. Schatzkin was an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of nutrition and cancer who joined NCI in 1984.
Dr. Schatzkin was committed to understanding the role of nutrition in cancer etiology and prevention. Early in his career, he was the first to describe an association between moderate alcohol intake and breast cancer risk. He then turned his attention to the role of diet in preventing colorectal cancer. Dr. Schatzkin led the landmark NCI Polyp Prevention Trial, a 4-year randomized trial that showed that, contrary to the prevailing hypothesis, a low-fat, high-fiber diet has no effect on adenoma recurrence.
Dr. Schatzkin addressed major issues in nutritional epidemiology, including two major methodologic limitations: the limited range of reported dietary intake in cohort studies, and the measurement error associated with self-reported dietary assessment. To address the first issue, he launched the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which was at the time the largest-ever prospective cohort study. Research from this long-term investigation of approximately 500,000 men and women has produced more than 100 original scientific papers, and it is a prized resource for investigators worldwide. To address the complex issue of dietary measurement error, Dr. Schatzkin played a key role in the Observing Protein and Energy Nutrition (OPEN) biomarker study. He also supported the development of new Web-based methods to measure diet, physical activity, and energy balance. The author of more than 300 original research articles, he participated on an international expert panel convened in 2007 by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research to report on the current evidence regarding food, nutrition, physical activity, and cancer.
Throughout his career, Dr. Schatzkin was dedicated to the advancement of nutritional epidemiology and the mentoring of young scientists. During his 11 years as branch chief, the NEB grew from two investigators to a large and successful team of more than 20 scientists.
“Arthur had great personal warmth and humor, tremendous intellectual curiosity and honesty, a genuine interest in all, and a passion for improving public health through exemplary science,” said Dr. Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr., director of DCEG. “He will be deeply missed.”
Dr. Schatzkin is survived by his wife, Dr. Tamara Harris, who is chief of the Geriatric Epidemiology Section at the National Institute on Aging, and their children, Rebecca and Eric.
New Program Aims to Help Businesses Navigate Regulatory Clearance for Products
The NCI Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Programs announced the launch of a new pilot Regulatory Assistance Program. This first-ever NCI SBIR Regulatory Assistance Program is designed to aid NCI SBIR and STTR phase II awardees in understanding and managing the regulatory requirements for advancing their products to the marketplace. The program is part of NCI’s latest efforts to go beyond funding support to help small businesses bring innovative cancer products to market. This competitive program is open to NCI phase II grantees and contractors with projects that are current or have ended within the last 2 years.
Applications will be accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis until 5:00 pm EST, February 4. Final selection of participants will be made by March 4.
Once selected, the awardees will be matched with experienced regulatory consultants in the areas of therapeutic and device development who will assist them in creating a comprehensive regulatory plan aimed at optimizing their company’s movement through the FDA approval process.
More information about the new Regulatory Assistance Program and how to apply is available online.
New Issue of CCR Connections Published
The newest issue of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) news magazine, CCR Connections, is available online. Volume 4, number 2, features articles about partnerships between CCR staff members and scientists in other countries, including a profile of the Princess of Thailand, herself a research scientist and CCR collaborator.
This issue also includes a story about Dr. Stephen Rosenberg’s work with National Human Genome Research Institute scientist Dr. Yardena Samuels to understand the genetics of melanoma; a story about research by Dr. Ira Pastan and Dr. Michael Gottesman that broke research ground on the molecular basis of chemoresistance; and an introduction to Dr. Alan Wayne and his 11-year-old patient Avery Lachapelle, who has been battling recurrent acute lymphoblastic leukemia since he was 14 months old.
CCR Connections is published semiannually. Please send requests for print or online subscriptions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
State Cancer Legislative Database Adds Obesity Prevention
NCI’s State Cancer Legislative Database (SCLD), a program that maintains a database of state cancer-related health policies, recently added obesity prevention to the list of covered topics. Information on topics is continually updated and made available quarterly, so content will be added to the obesity prevention topic in the coming months.
The current issue of the SCLD Update introduces the obesity prevention topic and, along with it, subtopics on food and nutrition awareness, competitive foods, food environment, nutrition education, reimbursable meals, research, and state capacity. The topic area is expected to expand to include new subject matter that focuses on energy expenditure, including requirements for physical activity and physical education during the school day. The Legislative Data Byte in the current SCLD Update highlights states with obesity laws incorporating horizontal governance, an approach to policy development that involves collaboration and shared responsibility among government entities.