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National Institute of Cancer Research

Introduction

Cancer has become the number one killer in Taiwan since 1982. In Taiwan, common cancers, such as liver cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, cervical cancer, gastric cancer, with a high incidence are different from the ones in Europe and North America. Thus, the health problems caused by these specific cancers need to be studied and solved by ourselves.

The Division of Cancer Research was the first division formed under the NHRI, and has been in existence for over 10 years, its mission was set out to be the prevention, detection and treatment of cancers prevalent on the island of Taiwan, aiming to raise the standard of health of the peoples inhabiting this island through basic and clinical research. Since its inception, it has established co-operative ties with the National Taiwan University Hospital, the Taipei Veterans General Hospital, the National Defense Medical School, to explore novel and comprehensive clinical trials, and implement translational research derived from the laboratory. The Taiwan Cooperative Oncology Group was established at the same time to consolidate the conjoined efforts in clinical trial execution. For the present, the researchers of the Division of Cancer Research have published over 270 annual publication during 2000-2004 and registered 22 Patents abroad. The division has reorganized to National Institute of Cancer Research passed by the 4th Board of Directors on Nov. 2005.

The established goal of the Institute is ensuring implementation of the mission defined for a national cancer research center, co-ordinate national research resources, prioritize objectives and aims for cancer prevention at present, execute and co-ordinate the basic, clinical and preventive science directives, as well as a custom made public health policy for Taiwan science research, clinical science direction, and national health prevention policies, to decimate cancer incidence and mortality rates, take care of the economically handicapped, thus raise the standard of health in Taiwan.

The major executing method is establishing new and corporate clinical research wards and laboratories in important clinical medical centers. For the present, four programs have already been initiated in this institute, categorized by missions and specialties. These include: Section of Cancer Prevention and Control, Section of Cancer Basic Research, Section of Cancer Clinical Research, TCOG and Training Program. Under the basic research will be

  • (1) experimental therapeutics group,
  • (2) molecular & cellular oncology group,
  • (3) tumor immunology group,
  • (4) radiation biology group,
  • (5) cancer nanotechnology and molecular imaging laboratory.

The clinical research wards have been established in Veterans General Hospital-Taipei, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Taiwan University Hospital, and National Cheng-Kung University Hospital. Basic and clinical research becomes closely linked to optimally improve cancer control. Each division (groups) will be formed by research personnel of interlinked disciplines to tackle the cancer problem from different perspectives using different methods, for in depth research in all forms of cancers, to improve on cancer diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention, and enable breakthroughs in cancer management as a whole.

On the other hand, we also set up Taiwan Cooperative Oncology Group for the coordination of research jobs between major medical centers. All individual committees are actively engaged in work such as writing-up the research protocols for clinical trials, and enrollment of patients into ongoing trials. Besides actively pushing the clinical research, committees invited oncologists to obtain their consensus on cancer therapy guidelines for improving clinical practice across the country. These guidelines offer patients and their family a correct direction, and clinicians a reference of standard cancer management as well.

To train and develop special techniques in cancer clinical research and treatment, training programs are developed to upgrade clinical laboratory techniques of specialists to better manage the most important medical problems in Taiwan. Presently, the training programs include medical oncology, surgical oncology, gynecological oncology, Radiation Oncology and oncology research nurses training program.

Mission

The main mission are as follows:

  • Execution of clinical trials to scientifically ascertain statistically efficacious new drugs and therapeutic modalities for the combat of locally prevalent cancers.
  • Establish special multidisciplinary and multi-institutional task forces to combat locally prevalent cancers such as hepatoma and female non-small cell lung cancers, to explore novel and effective therapeutics.
  • Utilization and integration of cutting edge biomedical technology into cancer research and clinical care.
  • Establish an inter-hospital medical care network, and reach a consensus for cancer prevention and management, as well as oversee multi-institutional clinical trials.
  • Recruit and train much needed expert basic and clinical science staff.

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