BETHESDA, MarylandIn early 2003, NCI director Andrew C. von Eschenbach, MD, set the Institute's goal as eliminating the suffering and death caused by cancer by 2015, and he challenged his staff to produce the strategies needed to do just that. Now, the Institute has published the NCI Strategic Plan, which outlines the paths it plans to follow to reach its 2015 objective.
The 81-page report focuses on two primary effortspreempting cancer at every opportunity and ensuring the best outcome for every cancer patientand it lists four strategies for each that NCI will pursue. The plan is the result of some 15 months of investigation and deliberation by about 125 NCI scientists, which resulted in the identification of nearly 200 possible strategic goals, and the culling of them to the final eight by the NCI Executive Committee after consultations with the Institute's staff and advisory boards, as well as extramural researchers and advocacy groups.
"Simply put, this plan brings the global picture of cancer researchSPORES, Cancer Centers, individual laboratory and clinical investigators, consortiums, and advanced technologiesinto a tight focus," said NCI chief operating officer John E. Niederhuber, MD. "It will direct our efforts and ensure that, regardless of where a research program or project falls in the discovery-development-delivery continuum, it contributes to seamless, integrated, and continuous progress."
Strategies for Preemption
The four strategies aimed at preempting cancer are:
Understand the causes and mechanisms of the disease. NCI will conduct and support work in basic, clinical, and population research with the aim of gaining deep insights into the genetic, epigenetic, environmental, behavioral, and sociocultural factors that influence cancer, as well as the biological mechanisms underlying cancer resistance, susceptibility, initiation, regression, progression, and recurrence.
Accelerate progress in cancer prevention. NCI will seek to hasten the discovery, development, and delivery of cancer prevention interventions through research on systems biology, behavior modification, environmental and policy influences, medical and nutritional approaches, and the training and education of scientists and health professionals.
Improve early detection and diagnosis. NCI will support the development and dissemination of new ways to detect and diagnose early-stage cancers.