ONCOLOGY Vol 10 No 12

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National Cancer Policy Board to be Establish

December 1st 1996

A new 20-member National Cancer Policy Board (NCPB) is being set up within the National Academy of Sciences. Just as we went to press, it was announced that Peter Howley, chairman of pathology at Harvard, had been named chairman and Joseph Simone of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah had been named vice-chairman. Bob Cook-Deegan, the executive director of the NCPB, said that other members will be appointed soon and the first meeting is scheduled for mid-February. Joe Harford, associate director of special projects at the National Cancer Institute, says the new Board hopes to provide a common meeting ground for all interested in furthering cancer research and treatment, including governmental bodies-- federal, state, and local--and private organizations. The Board is not meant to replace but rather supplement other advisory groups already in existence. Its function will be to make recommendations on various aspects of cancer policy. These might be issues such as how managed care affects payment for patients in cancer clinical trials, or the advisability of restrictions on tobacco advertising. The Board may also lend its recommendations to various groups as to how research monies might best be spent. Richard Klausner, Director of the National Cancer Institute, has been an enthusiastic advocate for the new Board, according to Harford. Of course, there already is a three-member President's Cancer Panel. But its members are presidential appointees, and the executive secretary is a member of Klausner's office. The NCI will not have a representative on the NCPB, Harford says. Susan Polan, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society, says the ACS "supports the idea of coordination of all agencies involved in the fight against cancer."