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NCI Aiming to Meet Goal of Eliminating Suffering and Death From Cancer by 2015

NCI Aiming to Meet Goal of Eliminating Suffering and Death From Cancer by 2015

Senior officials of the National Cancer Institute are developing strategies to achieve the goal set forth by NCI director Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, of eliminating the suffering and death caused by cancer by 2015. The institute expects to unveil the new strategies during the next 12 months. "These are key initiatives that we are going to be embarking upon," Dr. von Eschenbach said at a meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board. The new strategies will encompass the research funded by the NCI across the areas of discovery, development, and delivery, and will include NCI and the scientists it funds as well as the cancer community as a whole. "One of the strategies is in the area of molecular epidemiology," the NCI director said. "The others are integrated cancer biology; the strategic development of cancer interventions; programs in early detection, prevention, and prediction; integrated clinical trials systems; overcoming health disparities; and bioinformatics." Dr. von Eschenbach emphasized that the goal is not to eliminate cancer, but the morbidity and mortality caused by its various forms. "It is important to keep that distinction before us," he said. He said that as we begin to understand cancer as a disease process, we now have multiple opportunities to intervene: to preempt cancer initiation and progression so that some people never develop the disease; to detect the disease early and eliminate it in those who do develop cancer; and to manage the progression and evolution of the disease so that individuals with cancer do not die from it. The NCI director said his optimism that researchers can achieve the goal in little more than a decade stems from the knowledge base and scientific expertise that the nation has built since the signing of the National Cancer Act in 1971.

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