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New breast cancer committee to set federal research agenda

By Ed Kang
September 2010

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A newly formed advisory committee will develop and coordinate a strategic federal research agenda on environmental and genetic factors related to breast cancer.

Established by the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act of 2008, the 19-member Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee (IBCERCC) will review all breast cancer research efforts conducted or supported by federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, the committee will create a comprehensive plan to expand opportunities for collaborative, multi-disciplinary research, and develop a summary of advances in federal breast cancer research.

The committee's voting membership consists of seven representatives of federal agencies; six non-federal scientists, physicians, and other health professionals from clinical, basic, and public health sciences; and six advocates for individuals with breast cancer.

"The broad range of expertise and insight of these individuals will ensure the federal research portfolio continues to advance our understanding of the critical links between our environment, our genes, and our health," said Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., director of NIEHS and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).

In addition to Birnbaum and National Cancer Institute (NCI) Director Harold Varmus, M.D., the business of the committee will be facilitated by Gwen Collman, Ph.D., interim director of the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training, and Deborah Winn, Ph.D., deputy director of the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. 

The first meeting of the IBCERCC will take place Sept. 30 - Oct. 1, 2010 in the Washington, D.C., area.

Federal Representatives

  • Christine Ambrosone, Ph.D. Member, Board of Scientific Advisors, National Cancer Institute, and Professor of Oncology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Sally Darney, Ph.D. Acting National Program Director, Human Health Research Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Suzanne Fenton, Ph.D. Reproductive Endocrinologist, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Vivian Pinn, M.D. Director, Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institutes of Health
  • Marcus Plescia, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Gayle Vaday, Ph.D. Program Manager, Breast Cancer Research Program, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Shelia Hoar Zahm, Sc.D. Deputy Director, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute

Non-Federal Representatives (Scientists, Physicians, and other Health Professionals)

  • Michele Forman, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • Michael Gould, Ph.D. Professor of Oncology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Sandra Haslam, Ph.D. Professor of Physiology, Michigan State University
  • Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D. Medical Director, Women's Oncology Clinic and Director, Cancer Control Arkansas Cancer Research Center, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
  • Kenneth Portier, Ph.D. Statistician, American Cancer Society
  • Cheryl Walker, Ph.D. Professor of Carcinogenesis, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center

Non-Federal Representatives (Advocates)

  • Janice Barlow, P.H.N., C.P.N.P.C. Executive Director, Zero Breast Cancer
  • Beverly Canin President, Breast Cancer Options
  • Alice Chang, Ph.D. President and Co-Founder, Academy for Cancer Wellness
  • Karen Joy Miller Founder and President, Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition
  • Laura Nikolaides, M.S. Director, Research & Quality Care Program, National Breast Cancer Coalition
  • Jeanne Rizzo, R.N. President and CEO, Breast Cancer Fund

(Ed Kang is a public affairs specialist in the Office of Communications and Public Liaison and a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

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