The “Provocative Questions” initiative. Identifying Perplexing Problems to Drive Progress Against Cancer. (by Diego Fdez-Sevilla)
Here there is a very interesting initiative which I believe is worthy of being published around the media, by means of form and content. I really like the approach applied in this initiative and I wonder how many fields of research could benefit from similar initiatives.
The “Provocative Questions” initiative. Identifying Perplexing Problems to Drive Progress Against Cancer. http://provocativequestions.nci.nih.gov/
Due to recent technological advances in many fields, especially in genomics, molecular biology, and computational sciences, there has never been a better time for doing cancer research. We have made large leaps in our basic knowledge about cancers – especially about the genetic and biochemical mechanisms by which they arise. Now we have an opportunity to take a step back from the momentum of these discoveries and make sure we have left no stone unturned and no important but perhaps non-obvious question left unexplored. Leaders at the NCI are eager to influence the state of cancer research by attempting to define more potentially game-changing scientific questions that could influence the directions taken by NCI-sponsored research in the future.
The collaborative process of formulating the provocative questions should engage the NCI’s scientific community in serious debate and energize the NCI’s many constituencies (advocacy groups, health professionals, Members of Congress, and others) about the prospects for improving the welfare of cancer patients through research. These other constituencies are encouraged to take part in the “Provocative Questions” enterprise through discussions and activities on this Web site.
The provocative questions initiative has assembled a list of 24 important questions from the research community to stimulate the NCI’s research communities to use laboratory, clinical and populations sciences in especially effective and imaginative ways to answer the questions. The questions are not simple restatements of long-term goals of the National Cancer Program, which are to improve the prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment of all forms of cancer. Instead they:
- Build on specific advances in our understanding of cancer and cancer control;
- Address broad issues in the biology of cancer that have proven difficult to resolve;
- Take into consideration the likelihood of progress in the foreseeable future (e.g. 5 to 10 years); and
- Address ways to overcome obstacles to achieving long-term goals.
The questions are categorized into 5 themes: