The National Cancer Institute (NCI) coordinates the United States National Cancer Program and is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is one of eleven agencies that are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other activities related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer; the supportive care of cancer patients and their families; and cancer survivorship.
1993: The NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 encourages NCI to expand its efforts in prostate cancer, breast and other cancers which primarily or solely affected women, and authorized increased appropriations.
The NCI is divided into several divisions and centers.
Center for Cancer Research
The CCR includes approximately 250 internal NCI research groups in Frederick and Bethesda.
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
DCEG is divided into the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program and the Human Genetics Program.
Division of Cancer Biology
DCB oversees approximately 2000 grants per year in the areas of cancer cell biology; cancer immunology, hematology, and etiology; DNA and chromosome aberrations; structural biology and molecular applications; tumor biology and microenvironment; and tumor metastasis. "Special Research Programs" falling under the aegis of the DCB include: Physical Sciences-Oncology Network, Cancer Systems Biology Consortium, Oncology Models Forum, Barrett's Esophagus Translational Research Network, New Approaches to Synthetic Lethality for Mutant KRAS-Dependent Cancers, Molecular and Cellular Characterization of Screen-Detected Lesions, Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers, and Cancer Tissue Engineering Collaborative.
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
Division of Cancer Prevention
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
DCTD supports eight research programs: The Biometric Research Program, The Cancer Diagnosis Program, The Cancer Imaging Program, The Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program, The Developmental Therapeutics Program, The Radiation Research Program, The Translational Research Program, and The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Division of Extramural Activities
DEA processes and supports the thousands of grant applications NCI receives each year and compiles reports on the progress of research funded by the NCI's programs.
Office of the director
Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology
Center for Cancer Genomics
CCG was created in 2011 and is responsible for management of The Cancer Genome Atlas and cancer genomics initiatives.
Center for Cancer Training
Center for Global Health
Center for Strategic Scientific Initiatives
In the 1990s, the Unconventional Innovation Program was created to integrate interdisciplinary technology research with biological applications. It was reorganized in 2004 as the CSSI.
Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities
Center for Research Strategy
Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials
Technology Transfer Center
NCI-designated Cancer Centers
The NCI-designated Cancer Centers are one of the primary arms in the NCI's mission in supporting cancer research. There are currently 69 so-designated centers; 13 clinical cancer centers, 49 comprehensive cancer centers, and 7 basic laboratory cancer centers. NCI supports these centers with grant funding in the form of P30 Cancer Center Support Grants to support shared research resources and interdisciplinary programs. Additionally, faculty at the cancer centers receive approximately 75% of the grant funding awarded by the NCI to individual investigators.
The NCI cancer centers program was introduced in 1971 with 15 participating institutions.
National Clinical Trials Network
The NCTN was formed in 2014, from the Cooperative Group program to modernize the existing system to support precision medicine clinical trials. With precision medicine, many patients must be screened to determine eligibility for treatments in development.
Lead Academic Participating Sites (LAPS) were chosen at 30 academic institutions for their ability to conduct clinical trials and screen a large number of participants and awarded grants to support the infrastructure and administration required for clinical trials. Most LAPS grant recipients are also NCI-designated cancer centers. NCTN also stores surgical tissue from patients in a nationwide network of tissue banks at various universities.
Developmental Therapeutics Program
The NCI Development Therapeutics Program (DTP) provides services and resources to the academic and private-sector research communities worldwide to facilitate the discovery and development of new cancer therapeutic agents.
In the Molecular Target Program thousands of molecular targets have been measured in the NCI panel of 60 human tumor cell lines. Measurements include protein levels, RNA measurements, mutation status and enzyme activity levels.
NCI-60 Human Tumor Cell Lines Screen
The evolution of strategies at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) illustrates the changes in screening that have resulted from advances in cancer biology. The Developmental Therapeutics Program (DTP) operates a tiered anti-cancer compound screening program with the goal of identifying novel chemical leads and biological mechanisms. The DTP screen is a three phase screen which includes: an initial screen which first involves a single dose cytotoxicity screen with the 60 cell line assay. Those passing certain thresholds are subjected to a 5 dose screen of the same 60 cell-line panel to determine a more detailed picture of the biological activity. A second phase screen establishes the maximum tolerable dosage and involves in vivo examination of tumor regression using the hollow fiber assay. The third phase of the study is the human tumor xenograft evaluation.
Active compounds are selected for testing based on several criteria: disease type specificity in the in vitro assay, unique structure, potency, and demonstration of a unique pattern of cellular cytotoxicity or cytostasis, indicating a unique mechanism of action or intracellular target.
A high correlation of cytotoxicity with compounds of known biological mechanism is often predictive of the drugs mechanism of action and thus a tool to aid in the drug development and testing. It also tells if there is any unique response of the drug which is not similar to any of the standard prototype compounds in the NCI database.
^NCI's Shady Grove Campus To Open In 2013. NIH Record. LXII. 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2019. The change is being made primarily due to the leases expiring at EPN, EPS and a few other buildings on Executive Blvd. The new buildings would house, in one facility, staff from those leased sites... NCI will continue to occupy floors 10 and 11 of Bldg. 31's A wing, as well as much of the 3rd floor, and the NCI director will remain in 31. There are also many staff members in lab buildings and the Clinical Center on campus and a large presence in Frederick at Ft. Detrick.
^"National Cancer Institute Act: Text of the Act of August 5, 1937, creating the National Cancer Institute and authorizing an appropriation therefor". JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 19 (2): 133-137. 1 August 1957. doi:10.1093/jnci/19.2.133. ISSN0027-8874.
NCI Dictionaries: NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms (utilizing non-technical language) o NCI Dictionary of Genetics Terms (for healthcare professionals) o NCI Drug Dictionary (includes links for potential clinical trials)
NCI in A Short History of the National Institutes of Health, an online exhibit by the Office of NIH History