Events / News

November 2018

Congress Appropriation to NIH and NCI for FY 2019
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National Cancer Institute Budget Recommendation for FY 2020
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American Cancer Society - Cancer Facts & Figures 2018
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National Cancer Institute Budget Recommendation for FY 2019
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February 2017

American Cancer Society - Cancer Facts & Figures 2017
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December 13, 2016

21st Century Cures Act
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July 1, 2016

National Cancer Moonshot Initiative
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The President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2017
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October 30, 2015

National Cancer Insitute FY 2017 Annual Plan & Budget Proposal
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February 1, 2015

American Cancer Society Cancer Facts and Figures 2015
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January 30, 2015

Precision Medicine Initiative
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January 26, 2015

Accelerating Biomedical Research Act Introduced
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December 4, 2015

National Cancer Institute FY 2016 Plan and Budget Request
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February 1, 2014

ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2014
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January 16, 2013

ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2013
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January 7, 2013

NCI Report to the Nation on Status of Cancer
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January 2, 2013

NCI ByPass Budget FY2013
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August 20, 2012

AACR Cancer Progress Report 2012
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April 3, 2012

NCI Report: Senate Appropriations Hearing Highlights NCI's Provocative Questions Project
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July 27, 2011

NCI Director Harold Varmus Reviews First Year
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July 14, 2011

OVAC Urges Cancer Funding
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January 10, 2011

Cancer Research Funding Emphasis
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More Headlines »

Cancer Research

Cancer research in the United States is led and coordinated by The National Cancer Institute (NCI) which is part of the National Institutes of Health, one of 11 agencies that compose the Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI is the Federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training.

Cancer research is also conducted by many state governmental agencies, private institutes, universities and laboratories. In addition, cancer research is conducted by pharmaceutical companies and biomedical research organizations.

The National Cancer Act of 1971 broadened the scope and responsibilities of the NCI and created the National Cancer Program. Over the years, legislative amendments have maintained the NCI authorities and responsibilities and added new information dissemination mandates as well as a requirement to assess the incorporation of state-of-the-art cancer treatments into clinical practice.

The NCI coordinates the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other programs with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients and the families of cancer patients.

A comprehensive "strategic plan" was developed by the NCI in 2006 for advancing cancer research progress. It is considered to still reflect overall themes of NCI's work, in partnership with other agencies and organizations to understand the causes and mechanisms of cancer, accelerate progress in cancer prevention, improve early detection and diagnosis, develop effective and efficient treatments, understand the factors that influence cancer outcomes improve the quality of cancer care, improve the quality of life for cancer patients, survivors, and their families , overcome cancer health disparities that limit cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The NCI supports and coordinates "extramural" cancer research projects conducted by universities, hospitals, research foundations, and businesses throughout this country and abroad through research grants and cooperative agreements. The NCI also conducts "intramural" research in its own laboratories and clinics.

The NCI also conducts "intramural" research in its own laboratories and clinics.

Each year NCI has historically funded approximately 5,000 grants, and of those, about 1,500 are new grants.

A clinical trial is one of the final stages of a long and careful research process. The search for new treatments begins in the lab. If an approach seems promising in the lab, the next step is to see how the treatment affects cancer in animals and whether it has harmful effects. Of course, treatments that work well in the lab or in animals do not always work well in people. Clinical trials are needed to find out whether new approaches to cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment are safe and effective.

Clinical trials contribute to knowledge and progress against cancer. Research already has led to many advances, and scientists continue to search for more effective approaches. Because of progress made through clinical trials, many people treated for cancer are living longer. Many of these cancer survivors also have a better quality of life compared to survivors in the past.

There are several types of clinical trials:

  • Prevention trials: These studies look at whether certain substances (such as vitamins or drugs), diet changes, or lifestyle changes can lower the risk of cancer.
  • Screening trials: These studies test methods of finding cancer before a person has any symptoms. Researchers study lab tests and imaging procedures that may detect specific types of cancer. For example, researchers are learning the risks and benefits of virtual colonoscopy (CT scan of the colon) for colon cancer screening. Other scientists are comparing spiral CT scan and chest x-rays for lung cancer screening.
  • Treatment trials: Treatment studies look at new treatments and new combinations of existing treatments. Examples include the study of drugs that kill cancer cells in new ways, new methods of surgery or radiation therapy, and new approaches such as vaccines.
  • Quality of life (supportive care) trials: Scientists study ways to improve the comfort and quality of life of people with cancer. For example, doctors may study drugs that reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Or they may explore ways to prevent weight loss or control pain.

People who join clinical trials may be among the first to benefit if a new approach turns out to be effective. And even if participants do not benefit directly, they still make an important contribution by helping doctors learn more about cancer and how to prevent, detect, and control it. Although clinical trials may pose some risks, researchers do all they can to protect their patients.

People who are interested in being part of a clinical trial should talk with their doctor. They may want to read the NCI booklet Taking Part in Cancer Treatment Research Studies. It explains how clinical trials are carried out and explains their possible benefits and risks.

Source: The National Cancer Institute


Funding Cancer Research
Funding of the National Cancer Institute

The NCI receives funding for leading the National Cancer Program through appropriations from the U.S. Congress.

These funds support research at the NCI's headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, and in other research institutions, laboratories and medical centers throughout the United States and in other countries.