WASHINGTON--A new player has entered the cancer policy arena. At the
instigation of NCI director Richard D. Klausner, MD, the National Research
Council has established the National Cancer Policy Board to aid the NCI
in dealing with policy matters and strategic planning issues outside of
Peter Howley, MD, chief of pathology, Harvard Medical School, will chair
the 20-member panel. Joseph Simone, MD, executive director, Cancer Care
Programs, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, will serve as vice
chair. The board's first meeting is tentatively scheduled for mid-February,
staff director Robert M. Cook-Deegan, MD, told Oncology News International.
The National Cancer Act of 1971 directed the NCI director to report
to the President and Congress not only on cancer research, but on cancer
issues outside of research. In 1994, an NCI committee urged that this function
and the NCI director's report take a more structured form. Dr. Klausner,
who became NCI director in 1995, eventually initiated talks with the National
Research Council about forming a panel to do just that.
The board is intended to function as a neutral power among the sprawling
and sometimes brawling cancer constituency. Its members will include researchers,
cancer survivors, and people familiar with the behavioral sciences, economics,
clinical care, and drug development.