The 2012 AACR Annual Meeting featured a science policy track that included expert insight and analysis about the implications of federal policies on cancer research.
See also: 2012 Annual Meeting Regulatory Science and Policy Track
THE OUTLOOK FOR CANCER RESEARCH FUNDING IN FISCAL YEAR 2013 AND BEYOND: THE INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT ROLE OF THE AACR AND THE BROADER CANCER RESEARCH ADVOCACY COMMUNITY
We are making unprecedented progress that is changing the way we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer in this country, thanks in no small part to federal investments in cancer research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Today, more than ever, cancer researchers are maximizing the impact of the fundamental discoveries emanating from this federal investment and are translating them from the laboratory to the clinic, improving patient care.
However, funding for the NIH is in jeopardy as Congress and the president focus on reducing the national debt. This situation, coupled with the upcoming fall elections and a contentious political atmosphere, will make the fiscal year 2013 appropriations process one of the most challenging we have seen in many years. Additionally, failure last fall of the deficit-cutting congressional supercommittee to propose $1.2 trillion in savings to the federal budget could result in as much as a 10 percent cut to the NIH budget in January 2013 if additional steps are not taken this year.
This special session was aimed at arming cancer researchers with effective advocacy approaches. Mr. Retzlaff explained how the AACR is working with our nation’s policymakers and the biomedical research advocacy community to sustain our investments in cancer research and biomedical science. Retzlaff also highlighted a grassroots advocacy program at the AACR that is designed to help AACR members become effective local representatives and advocates for cancer research. Ms. Selig discussed how not-for-profit cancer research organizations, such as the Melanoma Research Alliance, are leveraging federal dollars and actively supporting cancer research. Ms. Bulman discussed how NCI engages the scientific and advocacy cancer community on research and science policy issues.
Jon G. Retzlaff, AACR Managing Director of Science Policy and Government Affairs
- Jon G. Retzlaff, American Association for Cancer Research, Washington, D.C.
- Wendy Selig, Melanoma Research Alliance, Washington, D.C.
- Amy Bulman, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
CHALLENGING CONVENTIONAL CANCER CARE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF TOBACCO’S EFFECT ON CANCER BIOLOGY, TREATMENT RESPONSE AND SURVIVAL
Continued tobacco use has a significant impact on patient outcomes including decreased effectiveness of cancer treatments, increased adverse side effects, and increased risk of recurrence and death. This session offered an analysis of the effects of tobacco on tumor physiology and cancer treatment; identified the complexities of assessing tobacco use and providing cessation support to cancer patients; reported on the current state of tobacco assessment in NCI Cooperative Group clinical trials; and provided a framework for incorporating tobacco use into the design and interpretation of future cancer research.
The session's speakers pose in front of the exhibit “A Century of Cigarettes,” which documents the growth in the tobacco epidemic and the evolution of scientific understanding that ultimately linked tobacco use to a host of diseases, including numerous types of cancers and heart disease. (LtoR) Dr. Graham Warren, Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Dr. Paul Cinciripini, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Dr. Robert Croyle, NCI; Dr. Roy Herbst, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center; Dr. Benjamin Toll, Yale School of Medicine.
- Paul M. Cinciripini, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
[Video and Slides] [Audio]
- Robert T. Croyle, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md.
FROM SCIENCE TO POLICY: CHALLENGES IN TRANSLATING SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE INTO PRACTICE-CHANGING CLINICAL RECOMMENDATIONS AND DECISION TOOLS
Clinical research is intended to improve patient care and ultimately improve outcomes; however, the translation of research findings to guide decisions and criteria regarding diagnosis, management and treatment in specific areas of health care remains a major challenge. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an advisory body made up of independent researchers, is charged with providing evidence-based recommendations regarding preventive services, such as screening, counseling and medications. It has received increased attention recently in the wake of its recommendations on mammograms and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing. Perhaps less well known is the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Physician Data Query (PDQ) program, which also reviews research. Rather than issuing recommendations, the PDQ program creates informational material and decision aids for patients and physicians that incorporate the latest research findings. This session, which was moderated by the NCI’s director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and included panel members who serve on the USPSTF and PDQ screening and prevention editorial board, illuminated these evidence review processes and provided AACR researchers with the opportunity to learn how their research and expertise can and does inform these important policy- and decision-making processes.
Dr. Barnett S. Kramer, director of the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention
- Joy Melnikow, University of California Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, Calif.
- David Ransohoff, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School, Chapel Hill, N.C.
[Video and Slides] [Audio]
HIPAA: CAN IT PROTECT PATIENTS WITHOUT IMPEDING RESEARCH?
The HIPAA Privacy Rule and the Common Rule, the federal regulations governing human-subjects research, have a profound effect on how scientists conduct their work, especially as advances in genetic tests and digital connectedness create a shifting landscape for privacy protections. Recognizing the need to update patient protections while still enabling 21st century research to move forward, a number of organizations have begun efforts to reevaluate the governing privacy framework. In this session, panelists reviewed findings from an important Institute of Medicine report on the HIPAA Privacy Rule, presented current efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services to update the Common Rule, and discussed possible legislative and regulatory approaches to balance privacy protection with facilitating research.
- Sandra J. Horning, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, Calif.
EVOLUTION OF TRANSLATIONAL OMICS: LESSONS LEARNED AND THE PATH FORWARD
A NEW REPORT FROM THE INSTITUTE OF MEDICINE
Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
“Omics” research encompasses multiple molecular disciplines such as genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and epigenomics that generate complex high-dimensional data prone to over fitting. However, carefully designed and executed studies can lead to a clinically useful omics-based test for patient management and care. A new report from the Institute of Medicine presents a series of recommendations for best practices in the discovery and development of omics-based tests, up to the point of first use of the tests in a clinical trial. The report provides a view of the entire development pathway and the pitfalls of each stage, to guide future endeavors in translating omics-based discoveries into clinical tests that can improve patient care.
- Joe Gray, Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, Ore.
[Video and Slides] [Audio]
- Daniel F. Hayes, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.
[Video and Slides] [Audio]