Last year hematologic cancers, as a group the fourth most common cancer, killed 60,300 Americans, drained the financial and emotional resources of hundreds of thousands, and continued to resist our best efforts to find a cure. But these diseases did not resist our science. We are learning what we need to know to attack them effectively.
This year the death toll from this group of blood-related cancers is expected to be 58,300 Americans. Continued scientific inquiry will yield unprecedented amounts of vital information essential to stopping them. I believe that in large part our increased success will be a direct result of the collaboration of dozens of America's most committed scientists, clinicians, planners, survivors, and their advocates - a collaboration that produced the first report on progress and priorities in the attack on LLM.
Any review of progress and priorities can only be followed by a plan for carrying out those priorities. This is that plan. [Read PDF copy of plan.] It describes the National Cancer Institute's (NCI's) strategies, current and proposed, for carrying out the recommendations of the LLM [Leukemia Lymphoma Myeloma] Progress Review Group (LLM PRG). The plan reflects NCI's commitment to carrying forward the attack on these diseases with the guidance of the LLM PRG. The LLM PRG and NCI's LLM Working Group have identified recommendations and strategies that must be the next steps for the Institute. I want to thank them for an exceptional effort. They are helping us find critical gaps in NCI's and the Nation's current research portfolio. Filling these gaps with sound, productive science is the challenge, and priority, that we face. To that end the NCI will increase its efforts to:
- Understand the etiology and pathobiology of these diseases
- Support education, communication and survivorship research
- Develop new treatments more rapidly and effectively through novel public-private partnerships and deliver those treatments where they are needed.
As NCI director, I accept the role not only of leading NCI, but also of influencing, informing, and helping to mobilize the entire cancer research community. This is, therefore, not just a plan for NCI, but also a call to action to the community; it begins the process of finding organizations that will become allies with the NCI to implement these strategies. I trust the community will feel a strong sense of ownership in this plan, and lead the way in their respective areas in implementing it. I am confident that in this way, and in this way alone, we will make real and substantial scientific and medical progress.
Andrew von Eschenbach, MD
National Cancer Institute