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About the Division of Cancer Biology

The Division of Cancer Biology supports basic research in all areas of cancer biology, which provides the research foundation that improves understanding of the disease. This basic research may lead to new approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

Research on basic cancer biology provides the building blocks to new treatments and clinical trials. Without the study of cancer biology, much of the progress in the search for a cure for cancer may never have occurred. In pursuit of understanding the basic mechanisms behind cancer, DCB:

  • Provides scientific management of and stewardship for approximately 2,000 grants each year in areas relevant to cancer biology
  • Facilitates investigator-initiated research by working with individual investigators, professional societies, and research institutions to provide information, advice, and guidance on opportunities for research support
  • Conducts workshops and symposiums to provide forums for researchers to collaborate and explore key scientific areas
  • Establishes program priorities by identifying and addressing emerging scientific areas or gaps in the scientific research portfolio
  • Communicates with scientists regarding areas of special interest and scientific opportunity
  • Reports on scientific progress and program accomplishments to the scientific community, NCI, Congress, and the public

DCB's Structure

DCB is a Division of the National Cancer Institute, the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training.

In addition to the Office of the Director, DCB consists of six scientific branches that fund and support investigator-initiated research conducted at academic institutions and foundations across the United States.

Office of the Director

The Office of the Director oversees the activities of the branches as well as special initiatives and Programs that are funded by the Division. The Office also fosters emerging topics in basic cancer biology, such as cancer systems biology, physical sciences in oncology, and the tumor microenvironment, in order to facilitate the development of the field.

Cancer Cell Biology Branch

This branch supports and directs research that defines the biological basis for the differences between normal cells and cancer cells. A major focus is on studies that reveal processes and molecular targets where there is potential for therapeutic or preventive intervention.

Cancer Immunology, Hematology, and Etiology Branch

This branch includes the Immunology and Hematology and Cancer Etiology sections.

The Immunology and Hematology Section supports studies on the basic mechanisms of antitumor immune responses and hematologic malignancies.

The Cancer Etiology Section supports two broad categories of studies on possible etiological factors or cofactors in cancer: biological agents (primarily viruses and bacteria) and host predisposing states such as obesity, diet, and aging.

DNA and Chromosome Aberrations Branch

This branch administers extramural grants for studies in cancer genetics and epigenetics, including regulation of gene expression, mechanisms of DNA damage/repair, genomic instability, and related molecular, cytogenetic, and chromosomal effects during induction and progression to malignancy.

Biophysics, Bioengineering, and Computational Sciences Branch

This branch supports studies in three areas: technology development and molecular applications, biophysical biology, and computational/mathematical methods and bioinformatics development. The branch also supports integrated and systems biology approaches to cancer biology.

Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Branch

This branch supports research in tumor biology, focusing on the interaction of the cancer cell with its microenvironment and how each remodels the other, tumor heterogeneity, and acquisition of aggressive properties.

Tumor Metastasis Branch

This branch plans, develops, and directs the Division's research program in tumor metastasis, focusing on mechanisms of metastasis and metastatic niches, circulating tumor cells, dormancy, and angiogenesis and vasculogenesis.

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