July 22 2021
The NRG Oncology Plenary session was held on July 22, 2021 as part of NRG Oncology’s Virtual Summer Meeting and featured a keynote presentation by Philip E. Castle, PhD, MPH, the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Prevention. During his lecture, “Threading the Needle: Sewing Precision into Cancer Prevention”, Dr. Castle focused heavily on the current state of the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention and what direction they are headed in. Joining Dr. Castle, were four panelists; Julie Baumann, MD, of the University of Arizona Cancer Center and the NRG Oncology Cancer Prevention and Control Committee Vice Chair;Joan Walker, MD, of the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and an NRG Oncology NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Research Base Principal Investigator (PI); and, Jeff Berenberg, MD, the Hawaii Minority Underserved NCORP PI; and, Bill Irvin, MD, the Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium NCORP Co-PI. The session was moderated by NRG Oncology Group Chair, Quynh-Thu Le, MD, of Stanford University.
Dr. Castle displayed the mission of the NCI to, “lead, conduct, and support cancer research across the nation to advance scientific knowledge and help all people live longer, healthier lives”. He conveyed the translational pathway of research development to communication to the global population and expressed a major barrier in cancer prevention trials is that there is a strong event bias involved: a successful prevention trial produces nothing tangible to look at. Dr. Castle showed the prevention trials and concepts under development and overviewed each of the programs and networks within the NCI to help strengthen prevention research and expand the reach of the research that is conducted. He delved into the importance of screening and early detection of cancer and providing preventative agents to those who would be considered high-risk.
Panelists added comments regarding the several barriers faced by prevention trials as well as the obstacles in translation and health literacy in minority or underserved populations and access to care. Also addressed were the concerns surrounding exposure to various carcinogens as well as genetic backgrounds that are potential biomarkers for certain types of cancer.
Materials from the NRG Plenary Session will be made available on the NRG Meeting Webpage at a later date.