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Brain Tumor Progress Review Group

About the Brain Tumor Progress Review Group

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) supports basic, clinical, and population-based research to identify and study the causes, biology, prevention, early detection, and treatment of cancer, while the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is the Nation's leading supporter of biomedical research on disorders of the brain and nervous system. Through years of dedicated research, researchers supported by both Institutes have amassed a significant knowledge base about brain tumors, and this knowledge, coupled with new technologies, is providing a wealth of new scientific opportunities. At the same time, increasing research needs and scientific opportunities require that the Institutes determine the best uses for their resources. It is necessary to identify clear scientific priorities, both to provide guidance for the scientific community and to create a benchmark against which progress can be measured.

Progress Review Groups (PRGs) were originally established to assist the NCI in assessing the state of knowledge and identifying scientific opportunities and needs within its large, site-specific research programs. PRGs fit within the NCI's overall planning framework, which embraces the use of expert panels and includes the establishment of Working Groups, which are specifically focused on aspects of scientific discovery and technology, as well as more broadly focused Program Review Groups. The Brain Tumor Progress Review Group (BT-PRG) was the first PRG to be jointly established between NCI and NINDS, in recognition of the importance of brain tumor research to both Institutes.


The BT-PRG was charged with assisting NCI and NINDS in addressing the two Institutes' brain tumor research programs. PRG members were asked to take a broad view in identifying and prioritizing unmet scientific needs and opportunities that are critical to the advancement of the research field. The BT-PRG was specifically charged with the following:

  1. Identify and prioritize scientific research opportunities and needs, and the scientific resources needed to address them, to advance medical progress.
  2. Compare and contrast these priorities with an NCI-prepared analysis of its cancer research portfolio.
  3. Develop a research plan of action that addresses unmet opportunities and needs.
  4. Prepare a written report describing the PRG's findings and recommendations for deliberation by the Advisory Committee to the Director (ACD) of NCI.

This report is the final product of the Brain Tumor PRG's (BT-PRG) efforts and deliberations. This report describes the group's findings and recommendations for advancing brain tumor-related research. The following section details the process used in producing this and other PRG reports.


The BT-PRG members were selected from among prominent members of the scientific, medical, and advocacy communities and from industry to represent the full spectrum of scientific expertise required to make comprehensive recommendations for the NCI's cancer research agenda. The membership was also selected for its ability to take a broad view in identifying and prioritizing scientific needs and opportunities that are critical to advancing the field of cancer research.

In February 2000, the PRG Leadership finalized an agenda and process for the PRG Planning Meeting. At the Planning Meeting, participants were identified to take part in a subsequent Roundtable meeting. Topics were identified for Roundtable breakout sessions to which those participants were ultimately be assigned and for which the PRG members served as co-chairs.

The Brain Tumor PRG Roundtable Meeting (July 2000) brought together approximately 125 leading members of the cancer research and advocacy communities. These experts met in an open forum in which they formulated key scientific questions and priorities for the next 5-10 years of brain tumor research. The PRG used input from the Roundtable in delineating and prioritizing recommendations for research directions, related scientific questions, and resource and infrastructure needs.

NCI and NINDS provided the PRG Roundtable with extensive information about their research programs. This analysis did not serve as a critical review of either Institute's research program, but rather was used to compare and contrast the Roundtable's scientific priorities with the research currently being done under the Institutes' auspices. On the basis of this review and analysis, the PRG recommended a plan of action to ensure that the recommended priority areas are thoroughly addressed. Their plan is outlined in this report.


After the Roundtable Meeting, an intermediate draft report was prepared, multiple iterations of which were reviewed by the PRG Leadership and PRG Members. Upon completion of the final draft, the report was submitted for deliberation and acceptance by the NCI Advisory Committee to the Director and the NINDS Council. The report will be widely disseminated and integrated into each Institute's planning activities. In Spring 2001, the PRG will meet with the NCI and NINDS Director to discuss the Institutes' response to the report. 

Report on the Brain Tumor Progress Review Group

Last Modified January 3, 2014