During the spring of 2012, Dr. Harold Varmus announced the establishment of the National Cancer Informatics Program (NCIP).
To the Cancer Research Community:
Following last year's report from the Board of Scientific Advisors Working Group, NCI has undertaken a thorough reassessment of the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBIG) program and begun charting a new course for the informatics infrastructure that will support the NCI's research programs. While many of the founding principles of caBIG remain valid, a new vision for interoperable biomedical information systems, built on community-driven data standards, is needed to support the cancer research enterprise.
The new National Cancer Informatics Program (NCIP) will leverage the investments made in, and lessons learned from, caBIG. A number of successful caBIG projects will be maintained and integrated into NCIP, while other projects have been scaled back or eliminated, as recommended by the BSA Working Group report. We will continue to work closely with the cancer research community and the newly formed Informatics Oversight Committee (IOC) of the National Cancer Advisory Board in developing a plan for NCIP.
The NCI is undertaking two immediate tasks to initiate this process. First, we are recruiting a new Director for our Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology (CBIIT), and the Director's responsibilities will include NCIP. In the interim, I have asked George Komatsoulis to serve as the Acting Director of CBIIT; he has my full support as he undertakes this important role. Second, we are organizing a meeting of recognized leaders in the research community to discuss the development of NCIP. The attendees will include basic and clinical scientists, informaticists, managers of core facilities, and representatives of the advocacy community. The goals will be to assess informatics needs in the cancer research community, to identify the best ways to meet these needs, and to ensure that data are available for sharing as we transition into NCIP.
My colleagues and I look forward to your participation as we work together to shape the future of informatics at the NCI.
Harold Varmus, Director NCI