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NCI Lecture Targets Summer Interns

The NCI Director's Lecture, a scientific presentation sponsored annually for summer students, attracted more than 100 interns to Wilson Hall on June 20. The seminar began with a talk by Dr. Alan Rabson, NCI deputy director, who related the rich history of NIH and NCI, bringing the former NCI directors to life. His talk touched on all past directors and included personal anecdotes and stories about each one, giving the audience a sense of who they were as well as their contributions to the evolution of NCI.

Rabson noted that Dr. Rick Klausner, the past director of NCI, started as a fellow in Rabson's lab, which inspired the young interns.

The featured speaker this year was Dr. Thomas Conrads, associate director of the Biomedical Proteomics Program at NCI Frederick, who began by sharing NCI director Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach's goal for the institute that, "by 2015, we will succeed in eliminating death and suffering due to cancer."

Conrads' lecture addressed the institute's obligation to public health, emphasizing the importance of "taking research from the bench to the bedside" by helping physicians become better at cancer management. Conrads said the burden of cancer can be made more manageable through new technological advances in the sciences.

He mentioned new techniques to detect and diagnose ovarian cancer using bioinformatics and proteomic analysis. Proteomics involves developing techniques for the separation of cell and tissue proteins to aid in the diagnosis, toxicity monitoring and therapeutic interventions of cancers. There is a great need for proteomic analysis, he said, because at the functional level, cancer is a proteomic disease.

In closing, he shared a favorite quote: "No one of us is as smart as all of us," emphasizing the importance of collaboration and challenging everyone in the audience to be a part of the mission to "eliminate death and suffering due to cancer."

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