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U.S. National Institutes of Health
Last Updated: 05/15/14

The Mission of Radiation Research Program

The Radiation Research Program (RRP) supports the basic, translational and clinical research, as part of an ongoing effort to stimulate research in radiotherapy and radiation biology, in the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) by:

  • Providing expertise to investigators and potential grantees who perform cutting-edge research with radiation and other forms of energy
  • Helping to lead the radiotherapy research community in establishing priorities for the future direction of radiation research, including interagency cooperation and collaboration
  • Developing and promoting collaborative efforts among extramural investigators for both preclinical and clinical investigations
  • Developing unique models and capabilities to help and mentor medically underserved communities in the United States and worldwide to access cancer clinical trials
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of radiation research being conducted by NCI grantees
  • Advising the NCI-funded clinical trials groups and the Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) regarding scientific priorities and quality assurance in clinical studies with radiotherapy
  • Through the Molecular Radiation Therapeutics Branch, providing guidance to extramural investigators, collaborating with DCTD experts and working with colleagues in the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research to develop novel combined modality therapy.
  • Serving as the NCI’s liaison and advisor on the mitigation of radiation injury to normal tissue and the development of biomarkers for radiation injury in programs addressing radiological and nuclear terrorism in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response within the Department of Health and Human Services.

RRP coordinates its activities with other radiation research efforts at NCI:

  • Divisions of Cancer Biology
  • Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
  • Cancer Center for Research – Radiation Biology Branch
  • Cancer Center for Research – Radiation Oncology Branch
  • Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal agencies
  • National and International research organizations.

In addition, the Radiation Research Program serves as a focal point for extramural investigators concerned with clinically related radiation oncology and biology research. The RRP research portfolio has been comprised of approximately 200 grants supported by $80,000,000 annually over the past several years.

Distribution of Research Areas for RRP

Distribution of Research Areas for RRP
Research Areas Percentages
Molecular targeting and tumor signaling 25%
Non-ionizing radiation 14%
Radioimmunotherapy/systemic radiotherapy 12%
Therapeutic imaging 11%
Physics and technology 9%
Tumor microenvironment 9%
Normal tissue 7%
Cancer stem cell responses to radiation 2%
Minority/underserved health 2%
Nanoparticle interventions 2%
Particles and proton radiation 2%
Predictive assays 1%
Radiochemistry 1%
Other 3%