Promising cancer research needs to be translated more quickly into practical methods of diagnosis and treatment, according to a report by the President's Cancer Panel. Barriers exist at every step between the laboratory and patient bed.
Unless those barriers are eased, "the national investment in cancer research will be tragically squandered, for discoveries that do not lead to improved patient outcomes are tantamount to no discovery at all," the panel said. Among other recommendations, the panel said the National Cancer Institute should require hospitals designated as comprehensive cancer centers to disseminate research findings to local oncologists and other cancer organizations.
The NIH also should redouble efforts to increase community-level clinical trials. The majority of clinical trials are offered in academic medical centers, while at least 80% of cancer patients are treated by community oncologists. The three-member commission provides periodic reports to the president on issues surrounding cancer research, incidence and care.