Stronger Bulwarks in the War on Cancer

Pledging to beef up two areas of cancer research--prevention and behavioral studies--the nation's general in the war on cancer, Richard Klausner, today announced a new plan that raises the stature of those research areas at the organization he heads, the $2.3 billion National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Cancer prevention includes things like diet and early detection programs, while "control" research encompasses studies of special populations, outcomes, and behavior--why some women are more likely than others to get mammograms, for example. Klausner's plan will split in half the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, the branch of NCI that now deals with these two areas. One division, Cancer Control and Population Science, will be headed by Duke University behavioral scientist Barbara Rimer, who will resign as head of the National Cancer Advisory Board to take the job on 1 October. Klausner says he plans a national search for a chief for the other branch, Cancer Prevention.

"There will be new programs built in both" divisions, says Klausner. For example, "I'm really looking to strengthen behavioral research." And in the prevention area, he says, new research may include more work on "vaccines or other preventive measures aimed at infectious agents that contribute to cancer."