WASHINGTONPresident Clintons proposed budget for fiscal
year 2001 includes $3.505 billion for the National Cancer Institute
(NCI), a 5.8% increase over the current fiscal year. The President
also asked Congress to appropriate $18.813 billion for the National
Institutes of Health, a 5.6% increase over its present budget.
The proposed NCI spending includes $3.25 billion for cancer research,
an increase of $183 million (6%) over its current funding, and
another $255 million for AIDS research, which represents a $10
million (4.1%) increase. In fiscal year (FY) 2000, which ends Sept.
30, NCI will have a total budget of nearly $3.312 billion, an
increase of 14.5% above its budget authority in FY 1999. The actual
increase in spending available for use by NCI in the current fiscal
year is $420 million
In testimony on Capitol Hill and in material provided to the National
Cancer Advisory Board, NCI director Richard D. Klausner, MD, outlined
some of the key areas in which NCI will spend its increased funding
during this fiscal year and the next one.
In an address to the House subcommittee that oversees the NCI budget,
Dr. Klausner said that one general area in which NCI will devote
additional dollars is that of the uneven distribution of cancer among
racial and ethnic groups.
We are in the midst of a number of expansions in our programs
aimed at the ability to assess, explain, and affect the unequal
burden of cancer, he said in his statement to the subcommittee.
NCIs Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program
is currently being revised to enhance coverage of rural whites and
blacks, non-Mexican Hispanics, and Native Americans.
The Institute is also formalizing its collaboration with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the integration of its
surveillance programs with CDCs National Program of Cancer Registries.
This year, NCI will begin creating what it calls special population
networks (SPNs) to develop cancer control and research programs
within various un-derserved communities. The Institute envisions
establishing 14 SPNs and spending $50 to $60 million on the program
over the next 5 years.
These SPNs, we hope, will provide the basis for a new national
platform for cancer research to address the distinct cancer burdens
of special populations, Dr. Klausner said. And the Institute
this year will also fund five research partnerships between
NCI-designated cancer centers and minority institutions.
Following up on findings in its Atlas of Cancer Mortality in the
United States, 1950-1994, released in December [see ONI February
2000, page 9], NCI will solicit research proposals for two types of
The Institute will seek epidemiologic studies to decipher the
geographic and temporal cancer patterns revealed in the 367-page
publication, and methodologic proposals for developing geographic
information systems for evaluating environmental associations with cancer.
Early Detection Research Network
Dr. Klausner said that NCI has created an Early Detection Research
Network, a novel and complex research structure established to
discover, develop, and validate markers for the early detection of
In this program, researchers from multiple institutions will
collaborate to assess potential markers and develop them into
reliable and standardized assays. In its first year, the program is
focusing on markers for breast, prostate, ovarian, lung, and
NCI is also funding a series of studies intended to advance the
imaging of cancers, including a series of clinical trials now being
These studies include a comparison of magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) and computed tomography (CT) in gynecologic malignancies, the
use of positron emission tomography (PET) to track responses to
chemotherapy, the value of spiral CT in lung cancer screening, and
comparative studies of real vs virtual colonoscopy and standard vs
In addition, NCI will fund a series of In Vivo Cell and Molecular
Imaging Centers, starting with two or three this year. The intent of
the centers is to strengthen and develop the emerging field of
functional imaging, in which the presence of a tumor, its molecular
characteristics, and its behavior are all identified.
The Institute also expects this year to increase the number of
consortia, now six, in its Unconventional Innovations Program, which
is aimed at developing novel detection and imaging systems by
exploiting new technologies such as molecular sensing, nanoscale
devices, and microexplorers.
NCI will continuing the 3-year-old effort to restructure its drug
discovery program to focus on ways to attack precise molecular
targets involved in the development of cancer and in the behavior and
survival of tumors.
We have funded four new centers to develop new libraries of
chemical diversity and to screen for promising molecular
targets, Dr. Klausner said. This year, we will fund new
Centers of Excellence for drug development, each of which will focus
on specific cancer pathways to speed the discovery of useful targets.