Along with outlining monetary spending for the upcoming years, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI’s) 2024 annual plan and budget proposal highlights areas of opportunity to advance cancer research, Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who was NCI acting director at the time, said in a September 2022 NCI’s director message.

Lowy explained that although research has come far, more has yet to be discovered. The report identifies four examples of scientific opportunities to advance cancer research:

  • Multicancer detection tests for asymptomatic people
  • Cell therapy for cancer treatment
  • Poverty and its effect on patients with cancer
  • “Undruggable” cancer targets

“This annual plan and budget proposal describes the resources needed to ensure that the cancer research enterprise remains strong, delivers on the opportunities before us, and transforms what it means to have cancer,” Lowy said. “Because fundamental scientific discovery is the backbone of cancer research, we must make strong investments in investigator-initiated research aimed at unlocking cancer biology and increasing the pipeline of new, less toxic drugs for cancer prevention, interception, and treatment.”

NCI will also work toward expanding and evolving clinical trials to improve equity in research, according to Lowy, ensuring that study sample participants reflect all populations. Furthermore, Lowy said NCI will “expand its efforts to recruit more early-stage investigators from diverse backgrounds” with the goal of delivering change that supports equity, inclusion, and diversity of thought.