March 28, 2017
Dear Mr. Abdelmessih:
Thank you for your e-mail letter to Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), requesting a meeting to discuss pediatric cancer research and funding. Dr. Collins asked me to respond to your letter and to extend both of our deepest sympathies for the difficult situation facing you and your family due to your son’s diagnosis of leukemia. We also commend you and your wife’s dedication and efforts to support research to improve the treatment and outcomes for all children affected by cancer.
I am Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) which is part of NIH and serves as the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research. Both Dr. Collins and I truly believe there are many reasons to be hopeful about the future of research on childhood cancers, including leukemia. Researchers at NIH and NCI, as well as our many grantees at research institutions across the nation, are continuing to pursue new approaches in the diagnosis and treatment of childhood cancers, which special emphasis in the areas of genomics, precision medicine, and immunotherapy. You can learn more about these efforts at NCI’s web site Cancer.gov.
In addition, the recent passage of the 21st Century Cures Act includes $1.8 billion in funding for the Cancer MoonshotSM initiative to bring about the medical breakthroughs we need to meet some of the biggest health challenges facing Americans today. Pediatric cancer research is a key focus of this initiative. You can also learn more about the Cancer Moonshot at Cancer.gov.
Representatives from the NCI Office of Research Advocacy (OAR) would be happy to talk with you to discuss these various initiatives and NCI’s support for pediatric cancer research. Please contact Patrick Mahoney in OAR at (301) 594-3194.
We are truly grateful for and will always need the support, efforts, and guidance you and your fellow dedicated advocates provide us as partners in this critical mission.
Thank you again for writing and please accept Dr. Collins’ and my best wishes for your son’s recovery from cancer.
Douglas R. Lowy, M.D.
Here is a picture of Gavin’s Galaxy with Dr. Lowy: