Cancer Biology Training Consortium

Dear colleagues:

There is now a web page for the Cancer Biology Directors meeting in Asilomar:  (Good Samaritan Institute is the nonprofit organization of our webmaster and asynchronous communication guru, Doug Liles.  I just bookmark this site and call it "Cancer Biology Directors")

You will find the agenda, lists of attendees, notes from the previous meeting, etc. on the site for your easy reference.

In addition, we have polls for information (Forum Boards) on there- WE WOULD LIKE YOUR PARTICIPATION!
One is to select a name for this group. We only got a few responses last time we did this, so are reviving it.

The second one is in preparation for the discussion on the Cancer Biology Core Curriculum.  We have listed the topics mentioned in last year's session, and would like you to weigh in on how important each of these topics are, and if there are any additional topics that need to be added.  This will jump-start out discussion in Asilomar and give us a head start on preparing a whitepaper on this topic.

The third Forum Board is one the students participated in to help pick topics for their discussion for this meeting.  You are welcome to take a look at it, but it has already served its purpose for this year at least.

This is what you do:

If you haven't already registered for this site (a few students have), go to "First Time Log In" and follow the instructions (you may want to print them out or open a new window since you will be leaving this page to register).  You can go directly to the Forums from here.

If you want to return later to do the Forums, just click on the Forum you want to participate in, and log in in the upper right hand corner.

The “Vote for Group Name” Forum is a straight forward vote for your favorite. 

For the “Comment and Prioritize Core Curriculum Topics” Forum, click on each thread, and then rate it using the "rate thread" button to the right. Feel free to add comments by hitting "post reply" and filling in the message box.  Add a new item by clicking on "new thread".  Use the "next thread" link on that page, or the “back” button on your browser, to go on to the next one.

5 stars = MUST be included in a core curriculum
4 stars = Should be included in a core curriculum
3 stars = Would be really nice to include in the core curriculum
2 stars = Optional
1 star  = not worth including in my opinion

If you have questions about using the web site, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Thanks for your participation, and looking forward to seeing everyone at Asilomar!
Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Ingram Distinguished Professor of Cancer Research
Department of Cancer Biology
Vanderbilt University Medical Center


The Cancer Biology Training Consortium (CANTRAIN) recently considered the role of training in translational cancer research at their annual meeting held in Monteray CA on Oct 28-29, 2006.  The following recommendations are presented to the Translational Research Working Group of the National Cancer Institute for consideration in response to their proposed Initiative to “Expand and enhance training in early translational research across disciplines and stages of professional development, and enhance incentives for pursuing careers in early translational research”.


CANTRAIN recognizes and is strongly supportive of the need to translate basic cancer research into effective improvements in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment. We recognize that traditional mechanisms of training M.D. and Ph.D. students and fellows are limited in producing investigators that are well suited for careers in translational research.  


Translational research has characteristics that are distinct from traditional careers in basic and clinical research.  The process of translational research requires teams of investigators with complementary expertise and leadership that acknowledges the contribution of all team members.  The process is relatively slow and requires attention to standardization in addition to innovation.  Thus, there are aspects of translational research that conflict with the established measures of success and reward system in academic institutions.


Our deliberations led us to the conclusion that an appreciation of translational research must be an integral part of the training curriculum for M.D. and Ph.D. students.  However, for Ph.D. training, true translational research projects do not provide adequate training opportunities, and a Ph.D. dissertation in Cancer Biology should contribute a complete body of knowledge that is cancer-relevant.  Research training opportunities for Ph.D. and M.D. postdoctoral fellows in translational research are appropriate and should focus on the establishment of effective teams with complementary expertise.  Training the next generation of leaders of translational research is appropriate for M.D./Ph.D. fellows, but should not be exclusively limited to dual-degree candidates given the requirement for effective teamwork.