By Carolynne Keenan, Guest Writer
Forty years ago, a single act by former President Richard Nixon created what we
now know as the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNLCR) at Fort
Detrick. What began as a small facility with a staff of about 20 people in the early
1970s grew into the multi-facility, nationally distinguished laboratory for cancer
research that it is today.
FNLCR may have changed names a few times over the years, with the most recent change
in March 2012, but even through the changes, the mission has been the same: to speed
the translation of laboratory research into new diagnostic tests and treatments
for cancer, AIDS, and other infectious diseases.
FNLCR has spent many of the last 25–30 years “putting its resources into place to
serve the nation in general,” said Craig Reynolds, Ph.D., director, Office of Scientific
Many discoveries have been made over the years in developing treatments for cancer,
AIDS, and other infectious diseases. In the early 1980s, FNLCR (then known as the
Frederick Cancer Research Center) played a part in developing a blood test to protect
the nation’s blood supply from HIV infection.