By Edward L. Trimble, MD, MPH
ASCO International Affairs Committee member
Since its establishment in 1937, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) has been a leader in cancer research and training worldwide. In 2017, NCI celebrates 80 years of victories and discoveries that have led to new ways of preventing, controlling, and treating this disease. Since 1991, rates of death from cancer in the U.S. have fallen by 25%. This progress is due in large part to research sponsored by the NCI followed by translation of research results into public health policy and clinical practice. On World Cancer Day, we recognize this continual, yet essential process which translates the successes of years of research into benefits for patients with cancer.
Shaping policy change is an important principle that permeates our work at the NCI Center for Global Health (CGH). The translation of research results into action through guidelines, policies, and programs is one of our main priorities. We work closely with colleagues across the NCI, leveraging our combined expertise, to guide research at the global level to mitigate the increasing burden of cancers, and are able to learn much faster about the impact of environmental and genetic factors upon the development of certain types of cancer studying them in regions with very high incidence.
CGH contributes to cancer control efforts globally, offering technical assistance and guidance for the development of national cancer control plans that take into account resources needed across the cancer continuum, and offer a foundation for measuring the progress of health systems in preventing, controlling, and treating cancer. We partner with other NCI divisions and centers, NCI-designated Cancer Centers, the World Health Organization, the International Union for Cancer Control, professional societies such as ASCO, nonprofit organizations, and U.S. and foreign governments, to develop the evidence and set the standards for cancer control while expanding our cancer research networks.
Changes like these are not automatic; however, we can work together to implement them. They require continued research that will produce strong evidence to support new policies. I can continue my commitment through CGH to advance cancer research globally, supporting the development of scientists who understand that to control cancer we need to carefully plan, monitor and implement well-designed studies, and assure the quality of their results. It takes time but we have made many achievements in areas such as tobacco control, HPV vaccination and cervical cancer control, and we are actively working for more.
Dr. Trimble is the director of the National Cancer Institute Center for Global Health. Prior to this appointment, Dr. Trimble was the head of gynecologic cancer therapeutics in NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis.