NIH Has New Working Groups on Genetics and AIDS

June 1, 1996

BETHESDA, Md--At the 98th Meeting of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB), Dr. Richard Klausner, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), congratulated everyone at the NCI on weathering the first year of structural changes under his new leadership.

BETHESDA, Md--At the 98th Meeting of the National Cancer AdvisoryBoard (NCAB), Dr. Richard Klausner, director of the National CancerInstitute (NCI), congratulated everyone at the NCI on weatheringthe first year of structural changes under his new leadership.

Among the changes, he said, are two new director's working groupson genetics: Developmental Diagnostics will look at "thepost-genome world as it applies to cancer," he said, whilethe Cancer Genetics group will look at which type of nationalinfrastructure will best facilitate a research base for geneticsusceptibility.

"I would like to see a cancer genetics network up and runningwhere individuals can go for the best counseling and testing available,"he said.

He noted that the new program of accelerated executive reviewis off to a good start, with 16 applications reviewed and 10 awardedfunding. "This accelerated process is helping us to fundgrants quickly while taking peer review seriously," he said.

Changes in AIDS Funding

Dr. Klausner said that the most significant change in the 1997NIH budget will be in how AIDS money is handled. "We havea $225 million budget this year for AIDS research at NCI, andwe need to decide how much of that should go to generic AIDS researchand how much to AIDS cancers," he said. An AIDS Malignancyworking group is now advising the director on AIDS research priorities.

"While we can't know the exact boundaries for AIDS and whichresearch will help, we are developing a coding system to showwhich research is AIDS related," he said. "We are lookingmore closely at AIDS malignancies and how they are related tocancer research.We also have direct AIDS research in that we workdaily with HIV patients."

Stamp of Approval

On the second day of the NCAB meeting, Dr. Richard Klausner announcedthe issuing of the breast cancer awareness postage stamp (seeOncology News International, April, 1996, page 5) and presentedPostmaster General Marvin Runyan with an award of appreciationon behalf of the NCAB and NCI.

"We do not want Americans to save these stamps," Mr.Runyan said. "We want them to save lives by putting thesestamps on their mail."

Mr. Runyan said that the Postal Service is throwing the full weightof its vast resources behind this cause. "We will be sendingeducational materials to 30,000 postmasters throughout the country.And in June we will begin airing public service announcementson television on breast cancer awareness."