Tuesday, Mar. 25, 1997
NCI Press Office|
Cancer Research in Brief:
Where It Stands, Where It Is Headed
Impact of Cancer on Society
Impact of Research on Cancer
Looking Forward to the 21st Century
- New drug development will capitalize on recent research advances. For example, scientists are working to see if a virus that grows only in cancer cells will infect and kill tumor cells without harming normal cells. These and other creative potential cancer treatments, such as immunotoxins, antisense technologies, and oncolytic viruses, are being readied or are already being tested in patients.
- An Informatics Initiative will create an information system linking NCI, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pharmaceutical companies conducting new cancer treatment studies, all of the nation's cancer centers, and the thousands of hospitals and nearly 10,000 doctors participating in cancer research. This information system will speed up research by enhancing the consistency of reporting study results, and will provide researchers with instant access to the latest data. Enhanced research reporting will, in turn, support FDA's new drug approval process. This Informatics Initiative will also make information about the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer available to all. It will link with NCI's computerized systems that describe, in user-friendly language, all cancer treatment studies supported by NCI and will provide detailed information for physicians on standard treatment options, as well as on cancer studies.
Most of today's treatments have a major limitation -- the damage they cause to healthy cells. The goal for new drug development is to target only a patient's cancer cells, thereby reducing side effects and improving quality of life.
Greater Access to the Benefits of Research. Cancer patients want quick and easy access to the best, newest treatments available. As a result, NCI is working to give patients in managed care systems that kind of access. The initiative began with an agreement between NCI and the Department of Defense (DoD) under which beneficiaries of DoD's health program can enroll in cancer treatment studies when that is the appropriate treatment choice. Another agreement, with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), will strengthen the information, prevention, and treatment choices for eligible patients. NCI is working to bring private care systems under the initiative and help bring the discoveries of medical research to all.
Greater Access to Information About Cancer.
- PDQ Database. Since passage of the National Cancer Act, NCI has created PDQ, a large, comprehensive database of up-to-date descriptions of cancer treatments for patients, the public, physicians, and researchers. Also contained in PDQ is information about cancer studies in which patients can enroll, which is now available through the World Wide Web (http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov). And in a new initiative, NCI, in cooperation with patient groups, is preparing lay-language descriptions of the PDQ cancer studies that are enrolling patients. These descriptions will also be accessible through the World Wide Web.
- Cancer Information Service (CIS). The CIS provides a nationwide telephone service for cancer patients and their families, the public, and health care professionals. The CIS disseminates information on cancer and provides access to PDQ. The toll-free number is 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237); services are provided in English and Spanish. People with TTY equipment may call 1-800-332-8615.
Society Working Together. NCI has spearheaded partnerships within all segments of our society to address the cancer problem and make research discoveries available to everyone. People from all sectors of society -- teachers, businessmen, civil servants, scientists, doctors, nurses, patients, and patient advocates -- are working to confront issues like tobacco control, cancer care, environmental safety regulations, and many other societal issues. They will be brought together under a new initiative proposed and supported by NCI and carried out by the National Academy of Sciences. This initiative, known as the National Cancer Policy Board, will provide a forum where representatives from the diverse groups participating in the nation's cancer effort can debate policy and make recommendations for cancer policy affecting the nation. This Board will go beyond research and look at societal issues, such as smoking control and the conduct of cancer treatment studies in managed care settings.
Statistics are from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results
(SEER) database (January 1997) and from the American Cancer Society's Cancer Facts and
Figures - 1997, which contains estimates based on SEER data.
Cancer Information Service
The Cancer Information Service (CIS) is NCI's nationwide telephone service and outreach
program. The CIS meets the information needs of patients, the public, and health professionals.
Specially trained staff provide the latest scientific information in understandable language. CIS
staff answer questions in English and Spanish and distribute NCI materials.
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237)
For NCI information by fax, dial 301-402-5874 from the telephone on a fax machine and listen to
For NCI information by computer:
CancerNet Mail Service (via E-mail):
To obtain a contents list, send E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word
"help" in the body of the message.
CancerNet is also accessible via the Internet through the World Wide Web (http://cancernet.nci.nih.gov) and Gopher