March 3, 2006

Matrisian co-chair of NCI’s research improvement effort

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Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D.
Photo by Dean Dixon

Matrisian co-chair of NCI’s research improvement effort

Vanderbilt's Professor and Chair of Cancer Biology, Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., is co-chairing the National Cancer Institute's Translational Research Working Group, as researchers and scientists from many organizations come together to evaluate the NCI's investment in research that moves laboratory discoveries to clinical trials involving cancer patients.

Matrisian, an Ingram Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research, said the group is trying to envision a better system, focusing on speeding the development of new diagnostic tests, treatments and other innovative discoveries that target people with cancer and those at high risk for cancer.

“For example, we need to put more science into clinical trials” said Matrisian.

“In future clinical trials, we should try to answer questions along the way, rather than waiting until the end and saying 'oops, that didn't work,'” she added.

Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center is well represented in Working Group discussions. Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt-Ingram, also serves on the core committee.

Matrisian co-chairs the group with Ernest Hawk, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Centers, Training, and Resources at the NCI, and William Nelson, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University.

Their work as part of this group is set to last 18 months, when they hope to have recommendations to develop a method of “best practice” measures to present to the NCI and eventually implement at cancer centers, including Vanderbilt-Ingram.