|UMMS Cancer Center |
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has squarely placed its emphasis on translational cancer research. We are reminded of this at every occasion. This month, the President's Cancer Panel (PCP), created in 1971 in the context of the National Cancer Act has released its 150-page report for the year 2005 pcp.cancer.gov . This is an inspiring and comprehensive document that calls for sweeping changes in how we think and practice research and clinical oncology.
The central objective is to strengthen our ability to deliver on the promise of translational cancer research, and speed up the testing in the clinic of promising research discoveries. These are not empty statements any more. The PCP report calls for 20 specific recommendations in all areas of clinical and experimental oncology. They span from challenging academic institutions to reward team work and provide "protected time" for meritorious physician/scientists, to prompting changes in HIPAA regulations to facilitate "rational" accrual in oncology clinical trials, i.e. patients that may benefit the most given their genetic makeup.
The PCP report also calls for changes in handling intellectual property and to designate every cancer drug an "orphan drug", thus providing additional benefits for manufacturers. And finally, cancer centers are viewed at the forefront to implement and disseminate these changes in culture and practice.
The Cancer Center has embraced translational oncology research as its underlying signature. This places us squarely in sync with the global NCI directions.