National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
November 17, 2009 • Volume 6 / Number 22

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NCI's Radiation Biology Branch Chief Honored with ASTRO Fellowship

Dr. James B. Mitchell Dr. James B. Mitchell
Dr. James B. Mitchell, chief of the Radiation Biology Branch in NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR), was named to the 2009 class of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Fellows. Dr. Mitchell is one of 12 distinguished ASTRO members who received this award at a ceremony during the society’s 51st annual meeting held earlier this month in Chicago. The fellows were recognized for their leadership within ASTRO and for making significant contributions to radiation oncology, specifically in the areas of research, patient care, education, and leadership or service.

Dr. Mitchell joined CCR in 1979 and has served as a branch chief since 1993. His research focuses on modification of the radiation response, with particular attention to protecting patients against oxidative stress.

NIH to Host Drug Repositioning Conference Next Month

On December 4, NCI will co-sponsor a meeting titled, “CTSA Pharmaceutical Assets Portal: Matching Academia and Industry for Drug Positioning,” with the National Center for Research Resources and the NIH Clinical Center.

The half-day conference will convene leaders from the pharmaceutical industry, government, and research, to explore how drugs that were originally designed for one purpose can be used for another—an effort to counter the increasing trend in research and development costs that can slow drug discovery in the private sector. The Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) Pharmaceutical Assets Portal is a tool that is designed to help match researchers’ knowledge of targets and diseases with the repositioning needs of the pharmaceutical industry.

The conference will take place from 9:00 a.m. to noon at the Lipsett Amphitheater in Building 10 on the NIH campus. Online registration is requested by November 25. The event will be videocast at For more information, contact Monica Barnette at 301-650-8660.

2009 NCI Translational Science Meeting Held

2009 NCI Translational Science Meeting logo

At the 2009 NCI Translational Science Meeting held earlier this month, more than 800 extramural and intramural researchers, patient advocates, and NCI staff convened to discuss accelerating early translational cancer research. This marks the second such meeting devoted to NCI’s goal of using innovative methods to rapidly and efficiently move the most promising new scientific discoveries from the laboratory into development and early phase clinical testing. The objectives of this year’s meeting were twofold: to enhance collaborations and interactions among all NCI-supported translational science investigators and to assist NCI in identifying opportunities worthy of support through the new Translational Research Acceleration Initiative (TRAI).

The "2009 NCI Translates" meeting consisted of 21 poster sessions, each focused on an area of interest related to a specific Translational Research Working Group (TRWG) Developmental Pathway. In addition to facilitating interaction among researchers with similar interests, each poster session was followed by a discussion about how the presented research relates to the TRWG Developmental Pathways and what factors may impede progress down the pathway. Additional panel sessions were held so that participants could discuss barriers and solutions relevant across all of the pathways.

Spearheading the TRAI effort is Dr. Lynn Matrisian, Ingram Distinguished Professor and chair of cancer biology at Vanderbilt University and currently special assistant to the NCI director. Dr. Matrisian was a co-chair of the TRWG, which developed the report upon which the TRAI framework is built.  For more information, visit the Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials.

President's Cancer Panel logo

President's Cancer Panel Explores Genetic Differences in Cancer Burden

The President’s Cancer Panel held the second meeting of its 2009–2010 series, “America’s Demographic and Cultural Transformation: Implications for the Cancer Enterprise,” on October 27 in Los Angeles. The panel heard testimony on differences in cancer burden among racial and ethnic populations due to genetic background and differences in tumor biology. Speakers reported racial and ethnic differences in cancer incidence, presentation, and prognosis that cannot be entirely accounted for by variations in socioeconomic, cultural, and behavioral factors. With these genetic differences in cancer development, it has become apparent that current research data based largely on non-Hispanic white populations are not always appropriate for the diverse current and projected populations within the United States. Speakers recommended improved research methods with increased recruitment of minority groups and objective determination of genetic ancestry through new technologies.

The panel will consider speaker recommendations when writing its 2009–2010 report to the President. Additional testimony on the effects of the changing U.S. population on cancer care and research will be heard at two future meetings:

December 9, 2009 - Wilmington, DE
February 2, 2010 - Miami, FL

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