National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
August 7, 2012 • Volume 9 / Number 16

Notes

Fraumeni Steps Down as Director of NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics

Dr. Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr. Dr. Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr.

Dr. Joseph F. Fraumeni, Jr., the founding director of NCI's Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG), stepped down from the position last month, after marking 50 years at NCI. He will remain at NCI as a senior investigator and advisor.

Dr. Fraumeni received his undergraduate degree from Harvard College, an M.D. from Duke University, and an M.Sc. in epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. After completing a medical residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, he joined NCI in 1962 as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service.

Through his years of leadership at NCI, Dr. Fraumeni developed an epidemiologic and interdisciplinary research program to identify the environmental and genetic determinants of cancer and the means of cancer prevention. Among his many research accomplishments was the discovery with Dr. Frederick P. Li of a familial constellation of multiple cancers, now known as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, which led to collaborative studies that uncovered inherited mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene

Another seminal contribution was his creation of maps depicting geographic variation in cancer mortality at the county level. This allowed Dr. Fraumeni and his colleagues to develop a way to identify several environmental and lifestyle exposures driving the distinctive patterns of certain malignancies. 

While building the intramural research and fellowship programs in epidemiology at NCI, Dr. Fraumeni emphasized collaborative research that incorporates new and emerging molecular technologies into population and family-based studies. These studies are helping to dissect the genetic and environmental components of cancer, along with their effects on the origins and progression of cancer.  

Dr. Fraumeni has authored more than 850 scientific publications, including the textbook Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention, co-edited by Dr. David Schottenfeld. Dr. Fraumeni has received numerous honors, including membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Margaret A. Tucker, director of the Human Genetics Program in DCEG, is serving as acting director until a permanent director is selected.

NCI Releases New Guidelines for National Clinical Trials Network

In a continuing effort to improve the efficacy and efficiency of NCI's clinical trials program, the institute has released new guidelines for its restructured National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The guidelines are intended to encourage a consistently excellent clinical trials program executed by an integrated network of groups that conduct treatment and imaging trials across a broad range of diseases and diverse patient populations. (Read more about the NCTN here.)

The guidelines describe the NCTN program and its policies and procedures, including the terms and conditions of awards; the application format and peer review processes for new funding applications; and the application format for noncompeting continuation applications.

To help investigators understand the new guidelines, NCI is holding several Q&A sessions in August. For information on registering for a session, go online.

  • For Operations Center, Statistics/Data Management Center, Integrated Translational Science Center, and Canadian Collaborating Clinical Trials Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA):
    Friday, August 10, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
    Friday, August 17, 1:00–2:30 p.m. ET
  • For Network Lead Academic Participating Site FOA:
    Friday, August 10, 3:00–4:30 p.m. ET
    Friday, August 17, 3:00–4:30 p.m. ET
  • For Network Radiotherapy and Imaging Core Services Centers FOA:
    Thursday, August 9, 3:00–4:00 p.m. ET
    Thursday, August 16, 3:00–4:00 p.m. ET

Procedures for Collecting Human Biospecimens Released

Preparing biospecimens for molecular analyte extraction Preparing biospecimens for molecular analyte extraction

NCI's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research's (OBBR) cancer Human Biobank (caHUB) program has released a collection of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that guide the successful collection of postmortem normal human biospecimens for the NIH Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) project. 

Successful collection of normal human biospecimens from organ and tissue donors requires complex operations and stringent quality assurance and control processes. For this reason, caHUB has created SOPs to govern the following areas:

  • Ethical and regulatory procedures
  • Biospecimen collecting and tracking
  • Data collection, validation, and management
  • Logistics management
  • Pathology review

Although these SOPs apply specifically to GTEx, they can serve as a model for other scientists wishing to collect high-quality biospecimens for experimental purposes from postmortem donors. 

For questions or comments about these SOPs, please contact: nciobbr@mail.nih.gov