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Highlighted Scientific Opportunities

NCI continually pursues new and emerging scientific opportunities that, with further investment, would catalyze additional progress in cancer research. Read about four areas of opportunity highlighted in the Fiscal Year 2024 Annual Plan and Budget Proposal.

  • Asymptomatic Multi-Cancer Detection: Advancing Cancer Screening to Save Lives

    Multi-cancer detection (MCD) tests that can reliably find precancer or cancer before it is symptomatic have the potential to substantially change cancer screening. Using a single blood draw, these tests may be able to detect the presence of multiple cancer types—including ones without established screening methods. By rigorously evaluating MCD tests and ensuring that the benefits outweigh potential risks, we may be able to take important steps toward ending cancer as we know it today.

  • Cell Therapy: Harnessing Cells of the Immune System to Fight Cancer

    Cell therapy is a personalized treatment that attacks cancer by using the patient’s own immune cells. While several cell therapies have been approved to treat certain blood cancers, more research on cell therapy technology and scalable production is needed to expand this treatment to a much larger number of people with cancer. Additional funding will enable the fundamental laboratory research and early-phase clinical trials to test novel cell therapy approaches.

  • Persistent Poverty and Cancer: Increasing Health Equity across the Cancer Continuum

    Cancer death rates are 12% higher in counties with persistent poverty than in other US counties. Without effective interventions, persistent poverty will continue to exacerbate health disparities. More research is needed to clarify the systemic traits of persistent poverty that lead to cancer disparities. Ending cancer as we know it requires connecting research findings with comprehensive cancer interventions that reach and are accepted by communities, no matter the zip code.

  • Undruggable Cancer Targets: Tackling Difficult Drug Design

    Armed with novel tools and more knowledge about cancer biology than ever before, researchers have made significant progress targeting drivers of cancer that were once considered undruggable. Sustained investment is needed to seize on the progress that has been made so far. Imagine ending cancer as we know it with strategies to target almost any cancer driver, leading to effective medicines for more people with cancer.