Traditionally, basic scientists have kept to their lab experiments, clinical scientists have kept to their patient studies, and neither has much traffic with the other. But the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is seeking to turn this tradition around. Last year it handed out more than $17 million to the first recipients of its Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) grants. These grants are expressly designed to support collaborative ventures--or what NCI officials like to call "translational research efforts"--between laboratory and clinical scientists.

"When we talk about translational research, what we're really talking about is how we move our basic [research], whether it's done in cell lines or mice or rats, into research that will have more of a direct impact on incidence and mortality in humans," explains Brian Kimes, associate director of NCI's Centers Training and Resources Program.

The aim of the SPORE program is to accelerate the flow of...

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