Cancer researchers around the world now have a powerful new tool at their fingertips that provides instant access to information on ongoing cancer research supported by cancer funding organisations within the United States and the United Kingdom.

The International Cancer Research Portfolio will allow scientists to identify possible collaborators, plan their next research application based on current research, and facilitate a dialogue among cancer researchers. Moreover, access to information on ongoing investigations will aid cancer-funding organisations in strategic planning for future research spending.

The International Cancer Research Portfolio (ICRP) currently holds nearly 13,000 records, providing information on the funding organisation, awarded institution, the principal investigator, and a detailed abstract of the research.

Created by three members of the Common Scientific Outline Partners (CSO), a collaborative group of United States (U.S.) and United Kingdom (U.K.) cancer funding organisations, the ICRP (, is a web based database that contains details of the current cancer research funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component of the National Institutes of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP), and the U.K. National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) member organisations.

For the first time, information on ongoing research funded by the leading cancer research bodies is available at a single international web site. Those browsing for information on cancer research can also be assured that all the listed research meets an accepted quality standard by competing for funding through peer-review systems. The database is designed to be user-friendly and is searchable by a wide variety of criteria.

Andrew von Eschenbach, director of the NCI, said:

Cancer knows no borders and with our international partnerships neither does our research effort. The ICRP will greatly facilitate international research, encourage complementary and collaborative research partnerships, and move us closer to our common goal of eliminating many cancers and controlling others so that people can live with – not die from – cancer.

Liam O’Toole, director of the NCRI, a partnership of the leading cancer research funders in the United Kingdom said:

Cooperation and collaboration are becoming increasingly important in cancer research today. ICRP will facilitate the forging of creative partnerships between researchers, institutions and funding organisations both nationally and internationally.

Col. Melissa Forsythe, deputy director of the CDMRP said:

The CSO Partnership is a unique collaboration, an intricate partnership of international leaders in science who, for the first time, have come together to develop a common scientific language.

The ICRP initiative is the product of the efforts of a group of eight U.S. cancer funding organisations and fifteen member organisations of the National Cancer Research Institute of the U.K., who came together in Sept. 2000 and agreed to adopt a common coding system for classifying cancer research. Established by the NCI to encourage meaningful comparison of research funded by different organisations, the CSO has provided a way for public and private international cancer research organisations to classify their research across seven broad areas
of science. The CSO Partners believe that this system will facilitate planning of cancer research and make sure that valuable research funds are used with maximum impact to benefit cancer patients.

The ICRP will be updated regularly to ensure that it is a useful resource for the community. Plans are underway to expand the ICRP to include the research portfolios of other CSO partner organisations.

Notes to the Editors

The CSO Partnership
Since 2000, the Common Scientific Outline (CSO) Partners, a group of nine U.S. and U.K. organisations, has been collaborating on developing and implementing a common system for classifying cancer research. The aim is to enable portfolio sharing, comparison and research planning. The U.S. National Cancer Institute, which had originally developed it as a tool for its own research management, invited the group to share the use of the CSO, a cancer-related classification system.

Member Organisations

U.S. Organisations:

  • American Cancer Society
  • California Breast Cancer Research Program
  • California Cancer Research Program
  • CapCURE
  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, Department of Defense
  • National Cancer Institute
  • Oncology Nursing Society of America
  • Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

U.K. Organisations

National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)

NCRI Member Organisations using the CSO include:

  • Association for International Cancer Research
  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
  • Breakthrough Breast Cancer
  • Cancer Research U.K
  • Department of Health
  • Leukaemia Research Fund
  • Ludwig Institute of Cancer Research
  • Macmillan Cancer Relief
  • Marie Curie Cancer Care
  • Medical Research Council
  • Northern Ireland Health & Personal Social Services Research & Development Office
  • Scottish Executive
  • Tenovus the Cancer Charity
  • Wales Assembly Government
  • Yorkshire Cancer Research

Since the formation of the CSO Partnership, the group has been focused on developing the CSO to meet the needs of all of the partner organisations. Within each of these diverse cancer research funders, the CSO is now being used in many ways to inform internal planning and facilitate coordination.