Note from the Director


Portrait of Tom Misteli, Ph.D.

The NCI Center for Cancer Research is at the forefront of cancer research – and has been for 20 years. Work from our basic and clinical investigators has led to fundamental insights into biological processes, the development of new cancer drugs, innovative vaccines and groundbreaking technologies that enable basic discovery and are used in the clinic every day to diagnose and treat patients.

In this publication we highlight some of our landmark discoveries over the years. They span the spectrum from basic research on how genes are expressed in cancer cells to advances in clinical care. They represent impactful research that has shaped and changed scientific fields and led to novel clinical applications that benefit patients. The remarkable discoveries highlighted in this magazine are a testimony to the creativity, ingenuity and persistence of CCR investigators. They are also a reminder of the extraordinary return on investment of federal funds allocated to maintaining and improving the well-being of our nation.

Why has CCR been so successful for so long? The short answer is that we do cancer research differently from most institutions. We have created an environment where our investigators can freely pursue what they consider to be the most important problems in cancer biology and treatment, and they can do so with limited time pressure. The intellectual freedom afforded to CCR scientists and the technological resources available to support them are unmatched. They enable projects that may be considered excessively risky in an academic or commercial setting but that fill an important niche in the biomedical landscape. The CCR’s distinctive environment also combines basic and clinical research under one roof to foster interdisciplinary research to tackle the most difficult problems in cancer research.

Our science is driven by our curiosity and by our commitment to better lives. While we have reached many landmarks along the way, what motivates and inspires us is the knowledge that much remains to be done to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. New landmarks are ahead, and we strive to reach them every day through our work in CCR.

Tom Misteli
Director, NCI Center for Cancer Research