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 cancer research.
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.