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About CCR – From Our Director

Our Passion and Our Mandate

CCR Connections

Robert H. Wiltrout, Ph.D.

For the first time in human history, we have the fundamental biological knowledge we need to fight devastating diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS within our reach. This knowledge is important, but it is not enough: it also needs to be tested and translated from basic scientific insight to treatment and even prevention. This Herculean feat can only come about in a scientific environment that encompasses a diversity of talent, open sharing of results and insights, and a united passion to understand, treat, and prevent disease.

The Center for Cancer Research (CCR) provides such a unique environment. As the basic and clinical research arm of NCI’s intramural program, CCR is a distinctive organization of scientists, physicians, trainees, and support staff dedicated to informing and empowering the entire biomedical community by making fundamental discoveries in cancer and HIV/AIDS and rapidly translating those findings into new therapies for patients suffering from these diseases. In addition, as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), CCR has a mandate to confront the special challenges presented by relatively rare but devastating cancers, as well as cancers that may be predominant in medically underserved populations.

CCR has prodigious strengths in both cutting-edge basic science and clinical research. The deep integration of our basic and clinical efforts drives and contributes to our success. Our unique position within National Cancer Institute (NCI) enables us to be innovative and agile in our explorations, allowing us to commit resources for longer-term and relatively high-risk studies that—despite their potentially high impact —would be difficult for other research institutions to undertake. Furthermore, our researchers collaborate not only with their CCR colleagues, but also with many external researchers in both the private and public arenas. We draw on their expertise, and they on ours, to make the fastest progress possible, and to ensure that innovative findings and technologies are rapidly dispersed throughout the cancer research community.

Everything we do at CCR begins and ends with our patients. We recognize them as full partners in our work, and we seek to offer them an unsurpassed level of care. As active participants in our research efforts, in the flow of information from bench to bedside and back, they often learn as much about their disease as we do! This close collaboration is deeply embedded in our culture, is empowering for both patient and physician, and adds to the unique richness of the CCR environment.

It is one thing to describe the uniqueness of CCR, and another to show it. To this end, we are proud to present CCR connections, our bi-annual magazine. Here you will find information about our basic and clinical research, our patients and scientists, and our alumni. Within the pages of each issue are only a few of the hundreds of CCR “stories” we could tell that support our vision and mission. Although each story is distinct, each one also shares with all the others the underlying passion for our work and our mandate, derived from the founding mission of NCI 70 years ago, to understand, diagnose, treat, and prevent cancer and HIV/AIDS.

We hope you find CCR connections interesting, informative, and even challenging, and we welcome your thoughts and comments.

Robert H. Wiltrout, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
National Institutes of Health

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