Advisory Groups to the National Cancer Institute's Carcinogenesis Program
HRD-78-143, Jul 26, 1978
The following aspects of the National Cancer Institute's (NCIC) carcinogenesis program were reviewed in response to a congressional inquiry: the roles and responsibilities of advisory groups to the carcinogenesis program and the relationships between advisory group members and organizations that could be affected by NCI activities, the extent to which advisory groups encourage NCI efforts to conduct and sponsor research in cancer prevention and identification of environmental carcinogens, and the effect of the Clearinghouse on Environmental Carcinogens on the program. NCI uses public advisory groups composed of experts to assist in achieving its goal of preventing or curing cancer. For various reasons, four of the five advisory groups that can influence the programs have given little attention to cancer prevention and carcinogenesis research. The National Cancer Advisory Board, however, has shown greater interest in this research and made certain recommendations which resulted in the creation of the Clearinghouse on Environmental Carcinogens. A review of contract awards indicated that the awards did not appear to be influenced by a principal investigator's committee membership or organizational affiliation. A review of financial disclosure statements showed that, of the 10 advisory group members who served as principal investigators on contracts, 5 had some form of interest in an organization which could possibly be involved with NCI. The procedure for appointing advisory group members needs to be changed in order to avoid potential conflict of interest situations. The clearinghouse has done little to emphasize carcinogenesis research because its role needs to be clarified.