BETHESDA, Md--The reports of the progress review groups on prostate and breast cancers present the National Cancer Institute (NCI) with both opportunities and challenges, director Richard D. Klausner, MD, told the National Cancer Advisory Board.
"Here are the oncology communities coming together and saying: This is what we need," Dr. Klausner said. The challenge for the Institute, he said, is how to satisfy each panels recommendations and create a knowledge base for each cancer "in our environment of investigator initiated research filtered through peer-review."
He said the two reports are being analyzed by NCI staff to develop ways to respond, adding that he expects to see specific new programs and requests for research applications emerging as a result of the recommendations. "For the Institute, the affected fields, and, I think, all of the other agencies involved in funding research in these areas, these two reports are going to be very influential," he commented.
Dr. Klausner noted the overlap in some of the major recommendations made by the two panels, such as a greater emphasis on understanding the basic biology of breast and prostate cancer. This has raised a question, still unresolved within NCI, of whether the institute should organize additional peer review groups to address other cancers, including lung, colorectal, and ovarian. "If we do," he said, "what do we learn from the tremendous overlap in recommendations?"