Harold Varmus, the chief of the National Cancer Institute on a Saturday in October 2010, invited 25 leading cancer researchers to brainstorm new ideas. After this initial first meeting, he wants to set up a website which highlights the latest unsolved questions and wants input from researchers. The goal for this Bethesda, Maryland meeting was to come up with a list of old, unanswered questions to be tackled again with current technology to come up with new answers. He hopes to come up with a list of preferred questions.
The list of invitees included academic luminaries such as Tyler Jacks, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Charles Sawyer of Sloan Kettering and Irving Weissman of Stanford University. In the subsequent meetings he hopes to include behavorial scientists and clinicians to offer their unique perspectives.
Harold Varmus wishes to fund about 15 of those brainstormed ideas with a portion of $5 billion he has set aside to support his goals.