139th National Cancer Advisory Board
by the AYAO PRG, and she suggested that there are two different groups of patients in that range of ages. Ms. Ryan agreed and suggested this could become an issue in developing research to explore issues. Dr. Niederhuber noted that, from NCI’s perspective, there is a need for this PRG process to identify important biologic differences or scientific questions that are currently not being invested in or addressed.
SCIENTIFIC UPDATE: CENTER FOR CANCER RESEARCH—DRS. ROBERT WILTROUT, MARY CARRINGTON, JAVED KHAN, DAVID WINK, AND STEVEN K. LIBUTTI
Dr. Niederhuber introduced the CCR update by noting that one of the perks of being part of the NCAB is to be able to hear some very exciting science. He said that he came to the NCI with a real passion about the intramural program and the importance of the intramural program to the extramural research community, as a resource in terms of the laboratory science and technology, for opportunities for translational research in the Clinical Center and also the opportunities for partnerships between the extramural community and NCI’s intramural scientists. The intramural program has become one of the most rigorously and scientifically reviewed programs with which he has been associated. Dr. Niederhuber lauded Dr. Wiltrout’s overall leadership, as well as Dr. Helman’s efforts on the clinical side.
Introduction—Dr. Robert Wiltrout
Dr. Wiltrout expressed appreciation for the opportunity to present details about CCR’s ongoing intramural research. He concurred with Dr. Niederhuber’s comments regarding the process of reengineering the intramural program, which has resulted in a somewhat leaner organization with fewer principal investigators that hopefully is making even greater progress and inroads based on its ability to form partnerships within the NCI, across the NIH, and between intramural and extramural investigators.
NCI’s intramural research is distinctive based on its critical mass of highly integrated basic and clinical scientists who work to solve complex scientific problems. The review and reward structure, which is somewhat different than the standard R01 type of approach, allows a quicker redeployment of resources in support of the NCI mission and goals to meet urgent public health needs and new opportunities. One example of this is the creation of an intramural laboratory focused on nanobiology to work in close concert with the efforts emanating from Dr. Gregory Downing and colleagues in the IMAT Program. In the past, this has been accomplished in the HIV and AIDS arena. Another recent success story from the intramural program is its work on the human papillomavirus (HPV). When NCI investigators are reviewed by the Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC), they must be able to defend their choices of projects. This rigorous process involves a retrospective review based on an investigator’s work during the past 4 years. Dr. Wiltrout expressed the belief that most of the BSC would agree that the current portfolio contains high-quality projects. Another important aspect of the intramural program is providing access to the new clinical center. Having basic, translational, and clinical scientists working in close proximity in this new facility and surrounding buildings is a tremendous opportunity—and obligation—to translate basic science into clinically applicable breakthroughs on behalf of cancer patients.
The CCR is also comprised of four areas: discovery, basic research, clinical research, and translational research. A variety of training programs, ranging from basic science through clinical applicability and technology development, overlap these areas. A significant portion of funding comes to the CCR from the NIH, Office of AIDS Research. In the past, the NCI intramural program made seminal contributions to the identification of the AIDS virus, including the development of diagnostic tests and some of the drugs that continue to be used today in terms of providing care for these patients. This has led to another generation of research centering on the ability to profile the disease to inform better