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Division of Cancer Biology Research Portfolio


NIH RePORTER is a publicly accessible database of NIH-funded research projects from the past 25 years. Users can also access publications and patents resulting from NIH funding.

Research in the field of basic cancer biology focuses on the mechanisms that underlie fundamental processes such as cell growth, the transformation of normal cells to cancer cells, and the spread, or metastasis, of cancer cells. This research provides the building blocks to new treatments and clinical trials.

DCB supports a broad range of investigator-initiated research in its mission to facilitate existing and emerging research areas in basic cancer biology. The grants DCB funds each year investigate the biological aspects of every form of cancer. The research ranges from targeted, long-term studies that are revealing the molecular details of cell processes, to high-risk, yet scientifically sound, innovative research approaches that hold great promise for providing key insights into tumor development.


Research Areas

The bulk of DCB's research efforts fall under six research areas, each supported and directed by their own branch. See the About DCB section for more information.

  • Cancer Cell Biology Research

    A research area that defines the biological basis for the differences between normal cells and cancer cells, with a major emphasis on studies that reveal processes and molecular targets where there is potential for therapeutic or preventive intervention.

  • Cancer Immunology, Hematology, and Etiology Research

    Part of NCI’s Division of Cancer Biology’s research portfolio, studies supported include the characterization of basic mechanisms relevant to anti-tumor immune responses and hematologic malignancies.

  • DNA and Chromosome Aberrations Research

    Examines 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 Research

    Cancer research and discovery in this area focuses on technology development and molecular applications, biophysical biology, and computational/mathematical methods and bioinformatics development.

  • Tumor Biology and Microenvironment Research

    Research in this area seeks to understand the role of tumor cells and the tumor microenvironment in driving cancer processes. Understanding the cellular, molecular, and biochemical interactions of tumors within their microenvironment is essential to improving cancer diagnosis and treatment.

  • Tumor Metastasis Research

    A research area that defines the mechanisms of tumor metastasis which allow tumor cells to leave the primary tumor, survive and travel through the circulation or lymph and ultimately enter distant tissues and expand.