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Last Updated: 11/9/12

Fall 2007, Vol. 2 Issue 2


From Dust to Discovery

Dr. David Newman and Dr. Phil Tonkins

In a gigantic freezer in a warehouse about 30 miles from the NIH main campus, coral from the quiet depths of the South Pacific, leaves from a rare tree in southern China, and bacteria from a crustacean of the cold Atlantic waters sit frozen in time, waiting their turn to possibly treat, cure or even prevent two of the planet's worst ailments: cancer and AIDS.

Thousands of plant, marine, and microorganism specimens collected from a myriad of places in the world are sent to the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Natural Products Branch (NPB) each year. “We are the hub of a hub-and-spoke operation,” says Dr. David Newman, chief of the NPB. Here, they are kept frozen until sent out and tested by NCI researchers — as well as other researchers around the world — looking for natural agents to fight cancer and AIDS. Read more…

NCI CAM News is produced by the Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM). The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was established in October 1998 to coordinate and support the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) activities related to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). OCCAM also serves as a focal point for NCI’s collaboration with other governmental and non-governmental organizations on cancer CAM issues.

For inquiries on CAM and cancer, call 1-800-4-CANCER or visit

Contact Information

Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine
9609 Medical Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892

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