Advances in medical imaging—from positron emission tomography to three-dimensional CT scans—are greatly improving disease and injury diagnosis and monitoring, while becoming less invasive and harmful to patients.

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 most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects over 15 million people in the United States. Working in collaboration, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the and the private sector are striving to improve the efficiency of drug development and clinical trials for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

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.

Osteoarthritis—the most common form of arthritis—is a degenerative joint disease, and the major cause of physical limitations and disability in older people. Today, 35 million people (13 percent of the U.S. population) are 65 and older, and more than half of them have clear evidence of osteoarthritis in at least one joint. By 2030, 20 percent of Americans (about 70 million people) will have passed their 65th birthday and will be at risk for osteoarthritis.

First described more than 100 years ago, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has no cure or lasting, effective treatment. Currently, more than 5 million people in the United States suffer from it and its incidence is projected to increase dramatically over the next 20 years.

The Avon-NCI Progress for Patients Awards Program, completed in 2009, made a significant impact on breast cancer research, accelerating the movement of pre-clinical discoveries to application in patients, and fostering collaborative efforts that optimized resources and efficiencies.