History of the EDRN
In 1998, the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) convened a panel of outside experts to give advice on early cancer detection. This panel was created to address the major recommendations of the Cancer Prevention Program Group. These recommendations included:
- develop new molecular markers for early cancer detection;
- expand identification of high-risk healthy populations based on genetic predispositions and development of new molecular markers;
- develop and improve new high through-put technologies for implementation of promising molecular diagnostic approaches in clinical and population-based trials; and
- develop and expand existing biorepositories and provide new access with appropriate consent to such materials for testing of new molecular detection strategies.
In 1999, the NCI’s Board of Scientific Advisors reviewed the recommendations of the Early Detection Implementation Working Group and recommended the formation of the EDRN. Specifically, the objectives of the network were to include:
- the development and testing of promising biomarkers or technologies in institutions having the scientific and clinical expertise, in order to obtain preliminary information that will guide further testing;
- the timely and early phase evaluation of promising, analytically proven biomarkers or technologies. Evaluation will include measures of diagnostic predictive accuracy, sensitivity andspecificity, which will serve as background information for subsequent large definitive validation studies in the field of cancer detection and screening;
- encourage collaboration and rapid dissemination of information among awardees to ensure progress and avoid fragmentation of effort.
The EDRN was formally established in 2000, with a mission to lead development of a systematic strategy to implement rigorous criteria for biomarker discovery and validation. The EDRN has since been renewed by NCI in 2005, 2010, and 2016. While the basic structure of the EDRN has remained the same, there have been modifications in its goals to reflect progress in the field and recommendations from experts, such as an increased emphasis on biomarker validation, inclusion of imaging methods, and development of biomarkers to distinguish aggressive early stage cancers from indolent cancers to reduce overtreatment.