In spring 1976, Building 472 at Frederick Cancer Research Center buzzed with activity as crews delivered and installed scientific equipment. Girded by steam pipes and bounded on one side by a narrow, one-lane road, the hulking brick structure had been among those vacated when the biowarfare program at Fort Detrick—its previous occupant—shut down. But its new life was about to begin.
The bureaucracy of Fort Detrick had transitioned from death to life. So said the Washington Post in October 1971, when President Richard M. Nixon converted the Army base’s old biowarfare laboratories into a center for life-saving cancer research. Many observers agreed it was an ambitious, hopeful vision. But what they didn’t know is that representatives from the Department of Defense and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare had been working on the transition for months.
There are times where opportunities are not present in our environment, so sometimes it’s necessary to make them. Like the famous paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson said, “one must take initiative in life to achieve what he or she wants.” That is exactly what Laura Prestia, Ph.D., and her colleagues, Robert Sons, Ph.D., and Alan Alfano, Ph.D., did in 2016 when they started the Technology Transfer Ambassadors Program (TTAP).
Test your home for radon. I could think of at least 10 reasons why I didn’t want to. It was something else to add to the endless to-do list. The test kit would be expensive. If the test showed high levels, addressing the radon problem would be more expensive. In short, it was going to be a pain.
But as it happens, it wasn’t.
Picture this: a scientist works hard to make it through the interview process and accepts a job offer with NCI at Frederick. Filled with joy, she is eager to start right away. However, she has important steps ahead that can affect how soon her first day on the job will be. One is to obtain a PIV card.
HIV plays a direct role in causing blood cell cancers in rare instances, says a new study of HIV and tumor DNA. Scientists have long known that HIV contributes to several cancers by weakening the immune system’s ability to fend off cancer-causing infections. However, this latest study, published in Science Advances this week, is the first to demonstrate HIV as a cause.
The Biological Response Modifiers Program in Frederick had visitors. A group of well-regarded scientific experts arrived in 1991 to tour some of its laboratories and spaces. Learning about the program was only part of their goal, however. They were there to evaluate it.
The Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research (FNL) not only tackles some of the world’s greatest biomedical challenges but also serves as a shared national resource to enable high-quality research beyond its walls. One way FNL does this is through the Technical Services Program.
The Biological Response Modifiers Program had come into its own. Gone was any thought that this was a fleeting initiative. It was a robust mix of clinical and laboratory science at the forefront of immunotherapy, what was becoming the next major method for treating cancer. The program’s capabilities expanded in the second half of the 1980s, even as its clinical trials continued to reveal insights into biological agents for cancer treatment.
Pockets of the NCI at Frederick campus have popped with color the past few months. Staff working on-site may have noticed landscaped flowerbeds boasting arrays of annuals and files of ferns as they passed by larger buildings. The plants were installed thanks to the Campus Improvement Committee, a small group passionate about making a big impact.