diverse backgrounds. The large conference, mandatory for all BCRP grantees, that the Army is planning for late 1997 (mentioned above) has quite a different purpose. It appears to be primarily a means of monitoring research progress. The committee views the original IOM recommendation to fund small interdisciplinary meetings that foster cross-fertilization as important and consistent with the current BCRP mission.
As discussed in Chapter 5, the 1993 IOM committee recommended that funds not be restricted to proposals that deal solely or directly with breast cancer, but, instead, that funds be allocated to support the best proposals as long as the work is relevant to at least one of the six fundamental questions that the committee identified. It explained that many of the discoveries that have benefited breast cancer patients arose from research that did not address breast cancer directly. The current committee's review of abstracts of funded projects in the 1993/1994 and 1995 funding cycles, determined that the portfolio covers research and training topics that are responsive to all six questions posed in the IOM 1993 report. As Chapter 5 also points out, the questions are sufficiently broad so that almost all abstracts could be classified into one or more categories, with the exception of epidemiology. Because the fundamental question that was directed to epidemiology had focused on the need for research relating epidemiological findings to changes occurring at the cellular and molecular level (''molecular epidemiology"), the committee created an additional category for standard epidemiological research projects. The fundamental areas of breast cancer research thus defined (see Table 5-11) appear adequately covered in the FY 1993/1994 and FY 1995 cycles (Tables 5-12a,b and 5-13a,b). The data in Tables 5-1 and 5-2 reveal that funding in these areas was proportionate to the number of proposals received. Thus, neither scientific reviewers nor IP members appeared to be biased against proposals in these research areas and an effort should be made to increase the number of submissions.