WASHINGTON--At its most recent meeting, the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) heard a report on the activities and accomplishments of the National Action Plan on Breast Cancer (NAPBC), as well as reports from two groups concerned about cancer research funding and grant applications.
Frances Visco, JD, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and a member of the President's Cancer Panel, described the NAPBC as "a consumer-driven plan to bring together people from federal and state government, the pharmaceutical industry, academic medicine, and survivors of breast cancer to decrease the incidence of and death rate from breast cancer."
Priorities include identifying strategies to disseminate information about breast cancer via the information superhighway, ensuring consumer input in the development of public health programs, expanding the scope of biomedical and behavioral research related to breast cancer etiology, making clinical trials more widely available, and implementing a comprehensive plan to address the needs of people carrying breast cancer susceptibility genes.
Susan Blumenthal, MD, MPA, deputy assistant secretary for women's health, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said that the federal government has stepped up its activities in breast cancer; for example, the Food and Drug Administration has established standards for mammography quality, and the Department of Defense has awarded 430 breast cancer research grants, for a total of $200 million.
She said that HHS priorities include establishing more programs for minority and poor women, increasing clinical research, establishing more advocacy groups, and promoting education and dissemination of information about breast cancer.
A Warning About Downsizing
Edward Bresnick, MD, vice chancellor for research, University of Massachusetts Medical Center, and president of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), told the board that the AACR's major goal is to "further cancer research through communication, publications, and meetings."