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Last Updated: 04/13/18

NCI CAM History and the Role of OCCAM

The NCI has a long history demonstrating its interest in the scientific evaluation of complementary and/or alternative approaches in cancer. As early as the 1940s and through the 1970s, the NCI evaluated information about practices such as the Gerson regimen, Hoxsey, and the use of Laetrile in the treatment of cancer. In 1991, the NCI established its Best Case Series review program to evaluate case reports of potential new cancer treatment from CAM domains. Examples of topics that came through this program include antineoplastons, and the Kelly/Gonzalez Regimen.

As a result of the interest in CAM within the NCI, the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was created by NCI senior leadership in 1998. OCCAM was established to coordinate and enhance activities of the NCI in CAM research as it relates to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, cancer-related symptoms and side effects of conventional cancer treatment.

In FY 2010, the NCI supported approximately $105,341,737 million in CAM-related research. This represents over 382 projects in the form of grants, cooperative agreements, supplements or contracts.

The State of the Science: Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapeutics Research, May 25-26, 2016

The OCCAM of the Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) convened this workshop on May 25-26, 2016 at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). The meeting was chaired by Dan Xi, PhD, Program Director, and Director of the Research Development and Support Program at OCCAM. The goals of the meeting were to assess the current status of cancer complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapeutics research; discuss the scientific gaps, needs, hurdles, and future opportunities in the era of precision medicine and provide suggestions to NCI regarding future initiatives and priority areas.

See About Us for more information about OCCAM.