Research Areas

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Making sustained progress against cancer requires advances across the research continuum, from the biology of cancer cells to studies of large populations. Learn about the breadth of NCI’s work and the programs the institute supports to advance cancer research.

Cancer Biology Research

The broad base of knowledge created by studying the differences between normal cells and cancer cells has been critical to progress against the disease.

Cancer Genomics Research

Investigating the genetic foundations of cancer has improved our understanding of cancer biology and led to new methods of diagnosing and treating the disease.

Research on Causes of Cancer

Understanding the exposures and risk factors that cause cancer, as well as the genetic abnormalities associated with the disease, has helped us to reduce certain exposures and to ameliorate their harmful effects.

Cancer Diagnosis Research

Accurate information derived from diagnostic tools is critical for making decisions at all stages of cancer care. NCI supports research on the development of tests and imaging technologies that can provide specific information about an individual’s cancer.

Cancer Prevention Research

NCI’s prevention research has a broad focus, from identifying environmental and lifestyle factors that influence cancer risk to studying the biology of how cancer develops and studying ways to disseminate prevention interventions.

Cancer Screening and Early Detection Research

NCI supports and directs research on screening and the early detection of cancer, including studies to develop and validate biological markers.

Cancer Treatment Research

The development of more effective and less toxic treatments is fundamental to improving outcomes for patients with cancer. NCI is leading efforts on several fronts to develop and evaluate new cancer treatments.

Public Health Research and Cancer

Studying cancer and its burden on a population-wide scale can provide important information that influences practices, policies, and programs that directly affect the health of millions of people in the United States each year.

Cancer Health Disparities Research

NCI is working to understand and address cancer health disparities, such as the higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of proven screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses among certain populations as compared with others.

Childhood Cancers Research

Learn about the range of research that NCI supports to address pediatric cancers, from basic science to clinical research on new treatments, all aimed at providing the best care for childhood cancer patients and survivors.

Clinical Trials and NCI

Information about NCI programs and initiatives that sponsor, conduct, develop, or support clinical trials, including NCI’s Clinical Trial Network (NCTN) and NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) initiatives to transform cancer clinical trials to be more flexible and responsive to the rapid advances being made in oncologic sciences.

The Global Burden of Cancer

NCI is confronting the global burden of cancer by creating sustainable international partnerships, supporting programs that address global gaps in research and scientific training, and disseminating information and best practices that drive improvements in cancer research and cancer control.