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NCI seeks to engage the creativity of the research community

Is there a specific advance that must be made in order to advance our understanding of cancer and cancer control?

Are there broad issues in cancer biology that have been difficult to resolve that need to be addressed?

What are the links between cancer risk and aging?

Why do many cancer cells die when suddenly deprived of a protein encoded by an oncogene?

The NCI recently launched the Provocative Questions website ( to engage the cancer research community in this important initiative. The project is intended to assemble a list of novel questions that will help guide the NCI and its scientific communities in efforts to control cancer through laboratory, clinical, and population sciences. The website allows individuals to submit questions, rank questions submitted by others, and participate in an online discussion of the initiative.

Provocative Questions are inquiries addressed to important problems and paradoxes in cancer research considered to have received insufficient attention, for a variety of reasons. Some may be built on older, neglected observations that have never been adequately explored; some on more recent findings that are perplexing; and some on problems traditionally thought to be intractable but now might be vulnerable to attack with new methods. The questions are not intended to represent the full range of important questions that the NCI and its constituencies should be studying, but they should draw attention to significant under-appreciated opportunities for advancing our understanding of cancer and developing new prospects for controlling it.

We encourage you to visit the website and participate in this community initiative. More information about the Provocative Questions projects are available at