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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2013 Dec;22(12):2148-60. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-13-0591. Epub 2013 Sep 17.

Collaborative cancer epidemiology in the 21st century: the model of cancer consortia.

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Authors' Affiliations: Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland; Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Scientific Consulting Group, Inc., Gaithersburg, Maryland; and Stanford Prevention Research Center, Department of Medicine, and Department of Public Health and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Department of Statistics, Stanford University School of Humanities and Sciences, Stanford, California.


During the last two decades, epidemiology has undergone a rapid evolution toward collaborative research. The proliferation of multi-institutional, interdisciplinary consortia has acquired particular prominence in cancer research. Herein, we describe the characteristics of a network of 49 established cancer epidemiology consortia (CEC) currently supported by the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). This collection represents the largest disease-based research network for collaborative cancer research established in population sciences. We describe the funding trends, geographic distribution, and areas of research focus. The CEC have been partially supported by 201 grants and yielded 3,876 publications between 1995 and 2011. We describe this output in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration and translational evolution. We discuss challenges and future opportunities in the establishment and conduct of large-scale team science within the framework of CEC, review future prospects for this approach to large-scale, interdisciplinary cancer research, and describe a model for the evolution of an integrated Network of Cancer Consortia optimally suited to address and support 21st-century epidemiology.

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