NCI column sparked by Lethal Cancer Coalition discussions
In a June 4, 2009 post to his "The Director's Notes" webpage, the director of the National Cancer Institute, John Niederhuber, MD, commented on the challenges highlighted by his recent meeting with the Lethal Cancer Coalition.
National Brain Tumor Society is a member of the Lethal Cancer Coalition, in addition to our ongoing advocacy for the brain tumor community through the North American Brain Tumor Coalition. NBTS Deputy Director Mark Cole posted the following comment:
National Brain Tumor Society appreciates this response from Dr. Niederhuber and recognizes the challenges posed by NCI's vast scope of responsibility. We concur that science must guide priorities, but we believe that good science is only part of good public policy. More research yields more results. We must find a resource allocation method that takes into consideration the urgent need of individuals who, by virtue of the incidence rate of their disease, are dying while waiting for a cure or progress.
Individuals who face brain tumors (as just one instance of a relatively rare cancer) encounter significant challenges and incur much higher care costs than the "average" cancer patient. Therefore, investment in rare, more lethal cancers can have a substantial impact – and, as Dr. Niederhuber notes above – may also yield scientific discoveries that "transcend organ site categorization." At NBTS, we do our part to support brain tumor-specific research with the funds that we raise from private donors, supplementing public funding for brain and many other cancers. NBTS shares the NCI's sense of urgency, and we look forward to continued scientific progress supported by both public and private sectors.