More than a half-million Americans die of cancer every year, making it the second-leading cause of death. But overall cancer rates are declining—including for such common cancers as breast and lung—thanks to earlier detection, interventions and therapies that are at once more powerful and less dangerous than in the past.

This groundbreaking initiative expands the science of targeted medicine. The Consortium is helping to innovate and accelerate the new era of precision medicine by fostering pre-competitive alliances of the public and private sectors. Composed of several disease-focused efforts, the consortium’s central aim is to identify, develop, and qualify measureable indicators of biological and pathological processes – biomarkers – to advance specific applications for diagnosing disease, predicting therapeutic response, and improving clinical practice using new and existing technologies.

The I-SPY 2 trial employs a groundbreaking clinical trial model that uses genetic or biological markers (“biomarkers”) from individual patients’ tumors to screen promising new treatments, identifying which treatments are most effective in specific types of patients. In addition, an innovative adaptive trial design will enable researchers to use early data from one set of patients to guide decisions about which treatments might be more useful for patients later in the trial, and eliminate ineffective treatments more quickly. The large-scale trial involves a unique collaboration by scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), FDA, and nearly 20 major cancer research centers across the country. Study results will be made broadly available to the entire cancer research and development community. 

The Sallie Rosen Kaplan Fellowship for Women Scientists in Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute is made possible by a generous bequest from Sallie Rosen Kaplan.

This fellowship is provided by funds from the Dean R. O’Neill Renal Cell Cancer Research Fund. It supports a promising, postdoctoral cancer researcher who will work for two to three years in the laboratory of tumor immunology headed by Dr. Richard Childs of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and will conduct research to further the quest to uncover more effective immunotherapies for the treatment for renal cell cancer.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) and Sage Bionetworks will soon invite entrants for Coding4Cancer™, a series of worldwide competitions to increase the accuracy of cancer screenings. Coding4Cancer will be funded by grants from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF).

This program, through the National Cancer Institute (NCI), provided approximately $6 million to cancer centers to design and implement new approaches to increase patient participation in early-stage clinical trials—particularly in minority and underserved populations.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) was the primary cause of cervical cancer. With more than $6 million in support from the Foundation for NIH, investigators expanded the scope of an existing National Cancer Institute (NCI) Phase III clinical trial examining a vaccine intended to prevent cervical and other cancers caused by this virus. The expansion makes possible validation, regulatory support and quality-assurance monitoring of the vaccine. The goal was to ensure that the resulting discoveries can be quickly translated into therapies that will prevent the spread of HPV.

Stephen J. Solarz, a former member of Congress, received treatment for esophageal cancer at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) that added years to his life.  His family and friends have established the Stephen J. Solarz Memorial Fund to support research at NCI and to provide other patients with the blessing of life.

This fund was made possible by a bequest from Sallie Rosen Kaplan, who had a deep and abiding interest in the education of her family and in making opportunities available for others.

In 2000, Dr. Edward T. Rancic, a kidney cancer patient, enrolled in the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s (NHLBI) allogeneic stem cell transplant immunotherapy clinical trial, in the research laboratory of Dr. Richard Childs in Bethesda, Maryland on the campus of the National Institutes of Health.

This project, made possible by $650,000 in private-sector contributions to the Foundation for NIH, was overseen by the National Cancer Institute.

Imaging software analysis of digital data collected by X-ray CT, MRI, CT and PET is increasingly central to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. New software methods for interpreting and managing this information must be evaluated in a more standardized manner to ensure their optimum performance.