NCAB Meeting Begins Today
The National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) meets September 7–8 in Building 31 on the NIH main campus in Bethesda, MD. NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus will open the meeting with his first NCI Director’s Report. The agenda is now available, and the meeting will be broadcast live online. An archived videocast of the meeting will be available a few days after the meeting.
New Grants Awarded for Biomarker Discovery and Validation
NCI’s Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) announced 32 new 5-year grants to researchers across the country for the discovery and validation of biological markers that signal the earliest stages of cancer. The awards fund:
- 20 Biomarker Developmental Laboratories responsible for development and characterization of new biomarkers or refinement of existing biomarkers
- Eight Clinical Validation Centers that conduct clinical research on the validation of biomarkers in early cancer detection and risk assessment, and serve as resource centers by participating in collaborative biomarker validation studies
- Three Biomarker Reference Laboratories that serve as a resource for clinical and laboratory validation of biomarkers
- A Data Management and Coordinating Center that supports statistical and computational analyses, informatics infrastructure, and the coordination of network-wide meetings and conferences
The EDRN also elected Dr. Ian Thompson of the University of Texas Health Science Center as chair and Dr. Joshua LaBaer of Arizona State University as co-chair.
Since its creation in 2000, the EDRN has developed more than 127 biomarkers; five validation studies have been launched and three completed; and the EDRN has prepared markers for prevalidation and validation studies. More than 600 publications, 28 patents, and 14 licenses have been generated from research by EDRN scientists. The EDRN established clear milestones for continuing or discontinuing the development process for new biomarkers. Based on statistical criteria, performance characteristics of biomarkers, and anticipated clinical use, more than 100 biomarkers have been stopped from further development due to their lack of performance.
“The new grantees bring with them a wealth of expertise and resources in the areas of basic science, clinical science, public health, statistics, epidemiology, informatics, and translational research, and they employ a variety of discovery platforms, including genomics, proteomics, epigenomics, and imaging,” said Dr. Sudhir Srivastava, who heads the EDRN program.
Federal Committee Will Establish Breast Cancer Research Agenda
A newly formed advisory committee will develop and coordinate a strategic federal research agenda on environmental and genetic factors related to breast cancer. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), in collaboration with NCI, established the Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC) to review all breast cancer research efforts conducted or supported by federal agencies.
The committee will develop recommendations for the secretary of HHS, NIH, and other federal agencies, to improve existing research programs related to breast cancer. Additionally, the IBCERCC will create a comprehensive plan to expand opportunities for collaborative, multidisciplinary research, and develop a summary of advances in federal breast cancer research.
The IBCERCC comprises 19 voting members, including representatives of federal agencies; non-federal scientists, physicians, and other health professionals from clinical, basic, and public health sciences; and advocates for individuals with breast cancer. A list of committee members can be found online.
The IBCERCC will hold its first meeting September 30–October 1 in the Washington, DC, area.
Glasgow Named DCCPS Deputy Director
Dr. Russell Glasgow was named deputy director of dissemination and implementation science in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Dr. Glasgow will provide leadership on numerous research projects to close the gap between research discovery and program delivery in public health, clinical practice, and health policy. As deputy director, Dr. Glasgow will also be responsible for guiding some of NCI’s research dissemination tools, such as Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T, the Cancer Trends Progress Report, and State Cancer Profiles.
Dr. Glasgow earned his B.A. degree in psychology from the University of Iowa. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Oregon, Eugene. Dr. Glasgow is a behavioral scientist specializing in the design and evaluation of practical and generalizable behavior change interventions, especially using interactive technologies, for use in health care, worksite, and community settings. He has more than 30 years of experience in academia and has been the recipient of key awards and honors in his field, including the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Distinguished Scientist Award and the American Diabetes Association’s Behavioral Medicine and Psychology Council Lectureship for Distinguished Contributions.
Most recently, Dr. Glasgow was a senior scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research.
Groundbreaking Ceremony Held for NCI’s Future Satellite Campus
The September 1 groundbreaking ceremony for NCI’s future satellite campus and buildings in the Shady Grove area of Montgomery County, MD, drew a large crowd and featured remarks by NCI Director Dr. Harold Varmus, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, and U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, among others. The buildings are scheduled to open in 2013 and will house nearly 2,100 staff from many of NCI’s divisions, offices, and centers. The campus will allow for anticipated growth in NCI’s programs and personnel.
“We’ll be bringing staff from four different locations into one consolidated space,” said Dr. Varmus, who biked to the event and stood out among the attendees in his bicycle shorts and shirt. “We’re going to have environmentally friendly facilities, with accommodations for bike commuters like me.”
Dr. Varmus thanked the NCI employees who have worked with the developers and architects to design the new campus. “Their hard work in helping the planning process is very beneficial to accomplishing our mission,” he said.
New Brochure on Cancer Genomics Available
The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) has developed an easy-to-read guide titled Cancer Genomics: What Does It Mean for You? The brochure describes the genomic basis of cancer, the work of TCGA, and how genomics research advances medicine.
TCGA is a joint initiative between NCI and the National Human Genome Research Institute. The comprehensive and coordinated effort is intended to accelerate the understanding of the molecular basis of cancer through the application of genome analysis technologies, including large-scale genome sequencing. TCGA is mapping the genomic changes in 20 cancers to yield comprehensive and publicly accessible data for use by the cancer research community to discover new ways to better diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer.