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Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs

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Thursday, June 26, 2003
5:00 p.m. ET

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International Cancer Research Portfolio: New On-Line Tool Will Aid in Cancer Research Collaboration and Planning

Cancer researchers around the world now have a powerful new tool at their fingertips that provides instant access to information on ongoing cancer research supported by cancer funding organizations within the United States and the United Kingdom.

The on-line database will allow scientists to identify possible collaborators, plan their next research applications based on current research, and facilitate a dialogue among cancer researchers. Moreover, access to information on ongoing investigations will aid cancer-funding organizations in strategic planning for future research spending.

The International Cancer Research Portfolio (ICRP) currently holds nearly 13,000 records, providing information on the funding organization, awardee institution, principal investigator, and a detailed abstract of the research.

Created by three members of the Common Scientific Outline Partners (CSO), a collaborative group of United States and United Kingdom cancer-funding organizations, the ICRP (http://www.cancerportfolio.org) is a Web-based database that contains details of the current cancer research funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the National Institutes of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), and the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) member organizations.

For the first time, information on ongoing research funded by the leading cancer research bodies is available at a single international Web site. Those browsing for information on cancer research can also be assured that all the listed research meets an accepted quality standard by competing for funding through peer-review systems. The database is designed to be user-friendly, and is searchable by a wide variety of criteria.

"Cancer knows no borders and with our international partnerships, neither does our research effort," said Andrew von Eschenbach, director of NCI. "The ICRP will greatly facilitate international esearch, encourage complementary and collaborative research partnerships, and move us closer to our common goal of eliminating many cancers and controlling others so that people can live with — not die from — cancer."

Liam O'Toole, director of the NCRI, a partnership of the leading cancer research funders in the United Kingdom, said: "Cooperation and collaboration are becoming increasingly important in cancer research today. ICRP will facilitate the forging of creative partnerships between researchers, institutions and funding organizations both nationally and internationally."

Col. Melissa Forsythe, deputy director of the CDMRP said: "The CSO Partnership is a unique collaboration, an intricate partnership of international leaders in science who, for the first time, have come together to develop a common scientific language."

The ICRP initiative is the product of the efforts of a group of eight U.S. cancer funding organizations and 15 member organizations of the National Cancer Research Institute of the U.K., who came together in September 2000 and agreed to adopt a common coding system for classifying cancer research. Established by NCI to encourage meaningful comparison of research funded by different organizations, the CSO has provided a way for public and private international cancer research organizations to classify their research across seven broad areas of science. The CSO Partners believe that this system will facilitate planning of cancer research and make sure that valuable research funds are used with maximum impact to benefit cancer patients.

The ICRP will be updated regularly to ensure that it is a useful resource for the community. Plans are underway to expand the ICRP to include the research portfolios of other CSO partner organizations.

The CSO Partnership

Since 2000, the CSO Partners, a group of nine U.S. and U.K. organizations, has been collaborating on developing and implementing a common system for classifying cancer research. The aim is to enable portfolio sharing, comparison and research planning. The U.S. National Cancer Institute, which had originally developed it as a tool for its own research management, invited the group to share the use of the CSO, a cancer-related classification system.

Member Organizations

U.S. Organizations:

  • American Cancer Society
  • California Breast Cancer Research Program
  • California Cancer Research Program
  • CapCURE
  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, Department of Defense
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Oncology Nursing Society of America
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

U.K. Organizations

    National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
    NCRI Member Organizations using the CSO include:
  • Association for International Cancer Research
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Research U.K
  • Department of Health
  • Leukemia Research Fund
  • Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research
  • Macmillan Cancer Relief
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Medical Research Council
  • Northern Ireland Health & Personal Social Services Research & Development Office
  • Scottish Executive
  • Tenovus the Cancer Charity
  • Wales Assembly Government
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research

Since the formation of the CSO Partnership, the group has been focused on developing the CSO to meet the needs of all of the partner organizations. Within each of these diverse cancer research funders, the CSO is now being used in many ways to inform internal planning and facilitate coordination.


The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) was set up in April 2001. It is a partnership between government, charitable, and private sectors, with the purpose of accelerating and advancing cancer research in the United Kingdom.

A key role of the NCRI is to provide a continually updated database of all the cancer research being undertaken in the United Kingdom. A wider goal is to draw up a new, more focused cancer research agenda, encouraging work in neglected areas of research but also acting as a general resource and authoritative voice for cancer research. The NCRI aims to do this by developing an overall strategy for cancer research in the United Kingdom and coordinating activities between member organizations.

The NCRI consists of the main funding bodies for cancer research in the United Kingdom:

  • Government cancer research funders: the Medical Research Council, and the Health Departments of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

  • Cancer research charities: Cancer Research U.K., Leukaemia Research Fund, Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research; Marie Curie Cancer Care, Tenovus; Breakthrough Breast Cancer; Association for International Cancer Research; Yorkshire Cancer Research, and Macmillan Cancer Relief.

  • The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

For information about cancer, visit NCI's Web site at http://www.cancer.gov.

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