The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is one of eleven agencies that are part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The NCI coordinates the U.S. National Cancer Program and conducts and supports research, training, health information dissemination, and other activities related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer; the supportive care of cancer patients and their families; and cancer survivorship. As of July 2010, the current director of the NCI is Dr. Harold Varmus.
The National Cancer Institute mediates the majority of its mission via an extramural program that provides grants for cancer research. Additionally, the National Cancer Institute has intramural research programs, which constitutes a small fraction of the overall National Cancer
Institute budget, in Bethesda, Maryland and at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research at Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland.
The NCI provides funding for numerous cancer research endeavors. Two of its largest known grants include the Radiological Physics Center (RPC) in Houston, Texas and the Quality Assurance Review Center (QARC) in Providence, Rhode Island. The RPC assures the NCI of proper participation in the physics-related aspects of its studies and QARC provides radiotherapy quality assurance and diagnostic imaging data management to all of the NCI sponsored cooperative groups. The RPC essentially guides all participating institutions as to how radiation is to be applied in a radiotherapy protocol. QARC on the other hand performs thousands of radiotherapy reviews per year and receives radiotherapy data from around 1,000 hospitals in both the United States and abroad. In all, over 30,000 cases have been reviewed at QARC since its inception in 1977. QARC also maintains a strategic affiliation with the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts. The RPC has been consistently funded by the NCI since 1968, and QARC has received support from the NCI since 1980.
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