NCI-Frederick's Unique Combination of Resources and Flexibility
NCI-Frederick is much more than a satellite campus of NCI. It is a unique biomedical research resource and one of only 36 Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) in the country. These facilities are not part of the government, but are operated by universities and nonprofit corporations under federal contracts. They fulfill some of our country's pressing research needs by bridging public and private sectors. FFRDCs study a variety of defense and national security issues, but only one FFRDC - NCI-Frederick - is devoted solely to biomedical research.
This special issue of the NCI Cancer Bulletin pays tribute to NCI-Frederick, which has, for more than 30 years, provided core scientific expertise and advanced technology development to NCI's intramural and extramural researchers, as well as to other NIH institutes and federal agencies.
Through its many advanced technologies, NCI-Frederick strives to speed the translation of laboratory discoveries into therapies for patients. Its capabilities include the capacity to rapidly deliver prototype drugs that meet the FDA's stringent Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations for use in clinical trials - expertise that can help win regulatory approval for new drugs, vaccines, and other therapies. NCI-Frederick has been involved in more than 300 clinical trials, including a vaccine for lymphoma, a vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer, and the test that protects the nation's blood supply from contamination by the AIDS virus.
NCI-Frederick's technologies - from advanced imaging to nanotechnology research to large-scale supercomputing - are at the center of an emerging Advanced Technology Partnership Initiative (ATPI). This public-private partnership has the potential to make NCI-Frederick a test-bed for new technologies and novel research concepts. Researchers hope in the next few years to expand the ATPI through a state-of-the-art research park in the Frederick area.
NCI-Frederick owes a debt of gratitude to a group of dedicated cancer advocates and legislators, including philanthropist Mary Lasker, Senator Charles Mathias (R-MD), and Benno Schmidt, chairman of the Panel of Consultants on the Conquest of Cancer. During deliberations over the National Cancer Act of 1971, they pushed for a cancer research campus in Maryland at Fort Detrick. Their foresight made possible the FFRDC designation in 1975. Without that special distinction, we clearly wouldn't have made the kind of progress against cancer - at the speed we have made those lifesaving discoveries - over the last three decades.
Dr. John E. Niederhuber