Federal Agencies and Cancer Research Programs     

Last Updated: June, 2014
While the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training, cancer research is also supported through a number of other federal agencies and institutes. On this page you will find links and information to agencies that carry out vital cancer research programs.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

HHS is a Cabinet-level department that oversees 11 agencies and over 300 programs with the mission of protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services.


Secretary: Kathleen Sebelius

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH, an institute of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting medical research. It is composed of 27 Institutes and Centers, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and provides leadership and financial support to researchers in every state across the U.S. and throughout the world.


Director: Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

The NCI, an institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is the federal government's principal agency for cancer research and training.


Director: Harold E. Varmus, M.D.

          NCI Links:

  • National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB): NCAB is an advisory board to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the NCI Director with respect to NCI activities.

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

AHRQ, an agency of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), conducts and supports health services research within AHRQ as well as in leading academic institutions, hospitals, physicians' offices, health care systems and many other settings across the country. The agency has a broad research portfolio that touches on nearly every aspect of health care.


Director: Richard Kronick, Ph.D.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC, an institute of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), works to protect public health and safety by providing information to enhance health decisions and promoting health through partnerships with state health departments and other organizations.


Director: Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

          CDC Cancer Programs:


Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation. The agency plays a vital role in researching the products of cutting-edge science that are central to the treatment and prevention of cancer.


Commissioner: Margaret Hamburg, M.D.

FDA Cancer Programs:


Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

HRSA, an agency of the HHS, is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for the medically underserved. HRSA oversees a range of programs and initiatives, including the national system that allocates organs, tissue and blood stem cells for transplant as well as programsdesignedto enhance the diversity and distribution of the health care workforce.


Administrator: Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N.


Department of Energy (DOE)

The DOE is a Cabinet-level department which promotes scientific and technological innovation in support of its mission to advance the nation's energy security. The DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research manages the Low-Dose Radiation Research Program, which supports research that will help determine health risks from exposures to low levels of radiation.


Secretary: Ernest Moniz

DOE Cancer Program: Low-Dose Radiation Research Program


Department of Defense (DoD)

The DoD, and specifically the U.S. Army's Medical Research and Material Command, manages the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP). CDMRP was initiated in 1992 and now encompasses multiple targeted research programs.The DoD was selected to manage the research because of the department's long history of developing vaccine protocols and therapeutic strategies.

CDMRP Website:

DoD Cancer Programs:


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA is a Cabinet-level agency that leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts with the overall mission of protecting human health and the environment. Through multidisciplinary research, the Human Health Research Program at EPA's Office of Research and Development develops and evaluates the methods, tools and data needed to improve risk assessments to protect the public. This research provides insight into potential health risks that the public faces from exposure to environmental contaminants and pollutants that can lead to the development of cancer or other disease.


Administrator: Gina McCarthy

EPA Research Program: