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development of taxol and clinical Investigations of taxol in combination with
other drugs will continue in 1992.
Prevention is the most effective way to eliminate a disease.
chemoprevention point the way to the day when people at high risk for cancer
or those with premalignant conditions will be protected from getting cancer by
adding a vitamin supplement, a micronutrient or other chemopreventive agent to their diets. Recently, findings from chemoprevention studies have shown that vitamin A-related compounds can prevent oral cancers and second primary head
and neck tumors.
A new prevention clinical trial will employ tamoxifen, an anti-estrogen
agent, as a breast cancer prevention agent.
Tamoxifen has the potential to
reduce the incidence of breast cancer by some 30 to 50 percent among
NCI is planning a two to three year study to determine the feasibility of
conducting a full randomized dietary Intervention trial to assess the impact
of a low fat diet on the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disease among
A broad cross-section of women will be recruited to the feasibility trial with special attention to women from poor and underserved minority groups whose cancer mortality statistics are particularly high.
Tobacco use remains the single most deadly contributor to cancer
NCI supports several large-scale smoking cessation studies:
the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT) and the
American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST).
There is an intense effort to develop vaccines and vaccine-11ke
approaches to the prevention of cancer. Vaccination is a classical tool to prevent diseases caused by a virus, and since a number of cancers are linked to a virus, vaccination is a promising strategy. For instance, Epstein-Barr virus and related viruses are detected in Burkitt's and other B cell
lymphomas, oral hairy leukoplakia, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and AIDS-related
Vaccination is already preventing Infection by the hepatitis B
virus, a risk factor for the development of liver cancer.
NCI - supported
researchers have reported significant regressions of non-virus-caused
malignant melanoma tumors using a vaccine-like approach to increase the
patient's immune response.
NCI has pioneered the rapid communication about advances in clinical
NCI disseminates important new clinical research results via
professional journals, PDQ, clinical announcements, press conferences, and consensus development conferences. The latest Information about cancer
treatment and clinical trials is available via the NCI's Cancer Information Service. Over 500,000 patients, familles and doctors received Information via
the CIS toll-free 1-800-4. CANCER telephone number.
NCI also reaches the
public in novel ways, for instance, adding cancer education messages to rental
videos of popular films.
Last year, to extend Information services abroad,
NCI installed a state-of-the-art system using a compact disk technology (CDROM) product at demonstration sites in three cancer research Institutes in
Eastern Europe. In 1992, an additional 15 systems will be installed in developing countries. A number of NCI publications also are being provided
free of charge to key medical libraries and academic institutions in Poland,
Hungary, and the Soviet Union.
In conclusion, we have accrued understanding of the basic biology of
cancer, which in turn 18 pointing to effective prevention, diagnostic and
We must continue our progress and NCI stands ready to
fulfill that goal.
Mr. Chairman, the FY 1992 budget request for the National Cancer
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
College of Literature, Science and the Arts (high honors)
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD
clinical Associate, Metabolism Branch
BOARD CERTIFICATIONS and LICENSES:
Certified in Internal Medicine
Phi Beta Kappa
Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Dr. Broder.
The first thing that caught my attention was the gene therapy experiment that was done last fall on a little girl with a previously incurable disease that shuts down the immune system. I was going to ask you about that, but you tell me that at this point it looks as though it has been successful.
Dr. BRODER. This is an important collaboration between the Cancer Institute and my distinguished colleague's Institute, Dr. Lenfant, the Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. It represents the work of Dr. French Anderson, Dr. Michael Blaese, Dr. Steve Rosenberg, with active participation of a very important scientist from your State, sir, Dr. Culver.
We feel that while this is preliminary and should not be taken to mean that we now have a standard, conventional treatment for this unusual immunodeficiency, our scientists are convinced that there has been, in fact, a real improvement in this child's immune function, and at least from an experimental point of view, we consider this aspect of the experiment to have made successful progress. We are not ready to say we now have conventional curative therapy for this unusual form of a disease, and we should use some caution as to how to extrapolate these findings.
Senator HARKIN. Has her immune system returned to normal?
Dr. BRODER. It has not returned to normal, but we do have evidence of an improvement in what are called lymphocyte functions and her ability to recognize foreign substances, so-called antigens, that might be thought of as invaders of her body. She is making a response to certain types of antigens that she would not normally have made.
Senator HARKIN. How much longer will she be undergoing this therapy?
Dr. BRODER. Well, this is viewed as a case-by-case thing. We do not have any background. There is no textbook we can look at. This is the first patient on Earth who has received this particular approach. And to be candid with you, I would have to say that from our point of view we are learning as we go along, I do not think it would be appropriate for me to tell you that we know the precise schedule. But if she continues to be successfully treated, we will certainly continue the procedures as long as we think she is benefiting from them. But this is a first case, and it is very difficult to make an extrapolation.
A second child has been treated and it is too early for us to say at this point whether there is progress or not.
Senator HARKIN. The same immunodeficiency?
And two patients with cancer, as I mentioned, have been treated using related technology, but for a different purpose. Again, in that setting, it is too soon for us to say whether this approach is adding to the
overall benefit of the patient. But it is no longer possible to say we will at some future time enter into the world of gene therapy for this purpose. We have already entered that world.
UNCONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS Senator HARKIN. I do not know if you want to add anything to what Dr. Raub had said earlier in my question about the nonconventional things. You met also with Congressman Bedell.
Dr. BRODER. Sir, I would like to say that I think it is very important for a variety of reasons for the National Cancer Institute to remain open to new ideas and to create a specific bond of trust with the public that it is open to new ideas and that all ideas compete on a level playing field.
In that context, perhaps I could say that we have responded to an Office of Technology Assessment report that you touched on. We have made certain suggestions for increasing lines of communication, and we have an internal program in our organization-a cancer therapy evaluation program that is receptive to hearing new ideas and that will pursue new ideas.
I would say that on three occasions in my recent memory we have followed up on what are called unconventional ideas. For example, laetrile was an unconventional idea, and we actually did an NCİ funded clinical trial with laetrile. There was a great deal of controversy over a drug called hydrazine, and we, in fact, are doing a study with hydrazine to answer some questions. And we will ask our scientists to participate. NCI funding instruments will help do those studies.
And finally, there was a randomized study, an appropriate control study, using vitamin C which was quite controversial at the time. I would say the latter, the vitamin C study, has considerable scientific implications, and, in fact, we are integrating vitamin C and related vitamins, small micronutrients, in a chemoprevention program both in the United States and abroad. We have a very large scale program in the United States and in China, and we feel
that it is quite likely that some aspects of vitamin C or ascorbic acid and other related vitamins are likely to have biologically important activities in the world of chemoprevention, that is, preventing cancer before it occurs. We do not have all the data on that point.
But the reason for me to give you this background is to signal you our understanding of your concerns. We know where you are coming from. We understand your concerns, and we try to remain open to new ideas. I would say that every major advance in cancer that we accept as conventional treatment today at one time was somebody's outlying idea, was some crazy person's idea, until it was accepted in the mainstream. And so, that would be true for chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and so on. These were all outside the mainstream. They were unconventional in their era.
VITAMINS AND CHEMOPREVENTION Senator HARKIN. I appreciate that very much, Dr. Broder. I just jotted down that when you mentioned prevention, you said that vitamin derivatives have some indication of being a preventative measure. You just said that again.
Dr. BRODER. That is correct.
Dr. BRODER. Yes, sir. We have a very strong commitment to what is called chemoprevention, and that means using micronutrients, sometimes vitamins, sometimes natural substances, sometimes certain hormones that are related to hormones in the body not necessarily for the purpose of treating cancer, but to prevent cancer.
It is my personal view that prevention should be our highest priority. Prevention of a disease is always better and more cost-effective than attempting to treat a disease once it has occurred. An ounce of prevention in today's dollars is probably worth a kilogram of cure.
And I feel that we have made progress in this area. We have certain vitamin A derivatives, which are included in the broad family of retinoids and substances such as beta carotene. These are related to the vitamins that one might have in the body. They definitely have been shown to be active this is not speculative, they have been shown to prevent certain types of cancers. For example, we have some progress in preventing the development of second head and neck cancers in individuals who are at risk because they already have a first cancer of the head and neck. And we have been able to show that in some cases you can prevent a second disease.
The whole area of chemoprevention is very exciting because there is an economy of scale involved. Almost anything that we could traditionally talk about that benefits cancer prevention-almost anything-would seriously augment our ability to prevent heart disease and other things, and so there is an economy of purpose here. I haven't discussed this specifically with Dr. Lenfant, but my instinct is that he would support that.
WOMEN'S HEALTH: DIETARY FAT AND CANCER Şenator HARKIN. Last, speaking about prevention and throwing in a little controversy here, obviously you know I am very strong