A research blog from the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention
A Message from the Director: A Year of Making the Cancer Prevention Intention Clear
September 20, 2021 | By Philip E. Castle, Ph.D., M.P.H.A year ago, I said that coming on board as the Division of Cancer Prevention Director in July 2020 was a “challenge,” adding that I had faith in science that the pandemic would be solved soon. Science has brought us a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 and medicine to treat the disease, but we still aren’t all together in the workspace or many other places. We all look forward to that day.
Despite the challenges that continue to keep us physically apart, I think we are philosophically together in our desire to prevent cancer. Our mission hasn’t changed, and our motivation hasn’t changed...
Study Seeks to Prevent Cancer and Extend Quality of Life for Women at Increased Genetic Risk of Ovarian Cancer
September 7, 2021 | By Susan JenksResearchers in gynecologic oncology have begun testing a promising surgery for premenopausal women at high genetic risk for ovarian cancer that avoids early menopause and may prevent these malignancies from developing.
Studies have shown that most ovarian cancers actually begin to grow from cancer cells that developed in the fallopian tubes. This trial is testing if removing the fallopian tubes before menopause prevents ovarian cancer.
Vaccine to Prevent Hereditary Cancers Nears Human Trials
July 13, 2021 | By Susan JenksOne of the first-ever vaccines for the prevention of colorectal and other cancers in patients at high genetic risk for these malignancies is expected to start its early phase safety and immunogenicity trial in the first quarter of 2022, according to investigators.
Although still in the design phase, the study will test a neoantigen-based vaccine against Lynch syndrome, a common hereditary condition that carries a 70-80% lifetime risk for colorectal cancer. The syndrome also raises the risk for developing endometrial cancer and several other cancers, often before age 50 years.
NCI Cancer Prevention Fellowship Seeks Passionate Applicants to Drive the Field Forward
May 25, 2021 | By Susan JenksPreventing cancer today and in the future lies at the heart of the National Cancer Institute’s competitive postdoctoral fellowship program, which is accepting candidate applications for the 2022 class until August 16, 2021.
The multidisciplinary Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) selects 10 to 15 new fellows each year and provides up to 4 years of support for mentored research and professional development at the NCI. It additionally offers the opportunity for fellows to earn a master’s degree in public health depending on their previous academic training.
The Search for Early Detection of Pancreatic Cancer Accelerates with Biomarkers
April 27, 2021 | By Susan JenksScientists have identified more than 1,000 potential new biomarkers for cancer that they hope will aid in the early detection of many of these complex diseases, including one of the most challenging, pancreatic cancer.
Pancreatic cancers have long defied early detection with the vast majority diagnosed in advanced stages when they are especially lethal. The 5-year relative survival rate for patients with widespread disease is just 3%. The 5-year survival for all stages in this cancer remains grim, less than 11%. If current trends persist, within a decade these relatively rare malignancies are projected to overtake colon cancer as the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States.
Pancreatic Cysts Are Monitored in New Trial Aimed at Reducing Cancer Risk Through Targeted Screening
April 8, 2021 | By Susan JenksIn a new NCI-sponsored study now recruiting participants, investigators will evaluate two different screening strategies for non-cancerous pancreatic cysts to determine which works best at detecting early malignancy.
Even though few of these sac-like structures are likely to develop into pancreatic cancer, researchers said, accurately predicting which cysts pose the highest cancer risk is essential to improving prevention and early detection.
“These surveillance strategies have never been tested prospectively before for their clinical benefit or relative costs and benefits,” said David Weinberg, M.D., chairman of medicine at Fox Chase Cancer Center and the principal investigator of the large clinical trial being conducted by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group with support from the NCI.
Cannabis and Cancer Part 2: Scientists Look for Ways to Increase Knowledge About Cannabis with Help from People with Cancer
March 8, 2021 | By NCI StaffAfter decades of opposition to decriminalizing cannabis products (especially marijuana), a more permissive attitude toward cannabis and its derivative products has taken hold today at the state level. At the same time, inconsistencies in state policies conflict with federal law, which itself, scientists said at a recent NCI-sponsored Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Cancer Research Symposium, is hampering clinical research.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Honoring the Scientists who Shaped Cancer Prevention Research During the Last 50 Years
March 1, 2021 | By Philip E. Castle, Ph.D., M.P.H.For centuries, visionary physicians have stressed preventing disease as the best option. I frequently say that the “best” cancer is the cancer that never happens. Today, we turn our attentions to the scientists who made stride after stride during the last 50 years to shape cancer prevention research.
Fifty years ago, the National Cancer Act was signed into law, kick-starting research that has changed how cancer is prevented, detected, diagnosed, treated, and survived, and moving us closer to a time when no one dies of cancer.
Cannabis and Cancer, Part 1: Despite Lack of Evidence, Cannabis Products Being Widely Used
February 24, 2021 | By DCP StaffDuring chemotherapy for an advanced blood cancer, Stacey Blansky vaped marijuana daily for her nausea and used cannabis oil for anxiety and stress. The decision to add these complex, plant-derived substances to ease her treatment’s side effects came after doing her own research on possible benefits, she said.
In fact, while many patients say they experience symptom relief with cannabis products, there is no clear evidence on the benefits or potential harms, how cannabis interacts with the different cancer treatment agents, and whether it might modify or reduce the efficacy of treatments. At the same time, studying the efficacy and safety of cannabis continues to be challenging for researchers due to the patchwork of various restrictions in state and federal laws.
Second Report Suggests No Benefit to Starting Aspirin Therapy for Cancer Prevention for Adults 70 and Older
February 11, 2021 | By Susan JenksMillions of older Americans take aspirin daily to reduce their risk for heart disease and colorectal cancer. But, new data suggests this protective edge for colorectal cancer comes only if they begin taking aspirin before age 70.
In a pooled analysis of two large U.S. cohorts of health professionals, researchers confirmed the surprise finding of an earlier clinical trial, known as ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly). That study found regular aspirin use confers no apparent protection against the development of these cancers in an elderly population.