Unveils New User-Friendly Drug Dictionary

The latest enhancement to the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Web site is the NCI Drug Dictionary ( Approximately 500 drugs and biologic agents currently being used in cancer clinical trials are listed in the dictionary. The dictionary will soon grow to include additional categories of drugs and agents.

The NCI Drug Dictionary provides brief, accurate descriptions of cancer-related drugs and biologic agents, including information about chemical class and mechanism of action. "Although this dictionary is designed for health professionals, we hope that others who are either involved in or have an interest in cancer therapeutics, including patients, will find it useful," said Dr. Richard Manrow, associate director of the Office of Cancer Content Management in NCI's Office of Communications. Dr. Manrow also commented that NCI's Office of Communications plans to greatly expand the amount of drug information for lay readers on NCI's Web site. "Drugs as a category are second only to types of cancer in searches performed on NCI's Web site," Dr. Manrow said.

The Drug Dictionary contains several useful features:

Flexible search options - In addition to a standard "starts with" search option, users can also enter only a part of a word or term, and use a "contains" option. Users can also search by generic name, brand name, chemical structure name, FDA Investigational New Drug name, or Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center number, which is NCI's internal drug identification number.
Browsing functionality - Users who want to browse the dictionary can select a letter of the alphabet and browse drug or agent names (generic and U.S. brand names) that begin with that letter. Links to clinical trials - Many drug entries in the dictionary include links to current clinical trials listed in NCI's Physician Data Query (PDQ®) cancer clinical trials registry in which those drugs are being used. This cross-indexing of NCI Drug Dictionary and PDQ clinical trial entries will become much more comprehensive in the future. Each entry in the NCI Drug Dictionary draws on and provides a link to more detailed information available in the NCI Thesaurus™, which also contains information on relationships to specific cancers, molecular targets, and other drugs, as well as links to other drug information resources. The NCI Thesaurus also contains information on more than 3,000 other cancer-related drugs and agents. The Thesaurus is developed and maintained by NCI Enterprise Vocabulary Services, a joint effort by NCI's Office of Communications and Center for Bioinformatics to help meet the terminology needs of NCI and its partners.

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