The Frederick National Laboratory is a shared national resource that offers access to a suite of advanced biomedical technologies, provides selected science and technology services, and maintains vast repositories of research materials available to biomedical investigators nationwide. It’s the only U.S. national laboratory wholly focused on research, technology, and collaboration in the biomedical sciences- working to discover, to innovate, and to improve human health.
The laboratory undertakes scientific challenges of national importance through its work to accelerate the development and delivery of effective preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic products to people living with cancer and HIV/AIDS.
National Programs and Initiatives
FNL pivoted resources in an interagency collaboration responding to COVID-19. FNL has leveraged the expertise and advanced technology it applies to cancer research to investigate the virus at the cellular and molecular levels, and to develop and standardize critical assays that may contribute to diagnostic tools.
The Frederick National Laboratory is a founding member of ATOM (Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine). The consortium is a public-private partnership with the mission of transforming drug discovery by accelerating the development of more effective therapies for patients. The ATOM consortium was officially established in October 2017.
More than 30 percent of all human cancers- including 95 percent of pancreatic cancers and 45 percent of colorectal cancers- are driven by mutations of the RAS family of genes. NCI established the RAS Initiative in 2013 to explore innovative approaches for attacking the proteins encoded by mutant forms of RAS genes and to ultimately creative effective, new therapies for RAS-related cancers.
Announced in 2016 by then Vice President Joe Biden, the Cancer Moonshot℠ to accelerate cancer research aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving the ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.
The Frederick National Laboratory supports several Cancer Moonshot projects, including:
- Moonshot Pediatric Core: The Moonshot Pediatric Core (MPC) was established as a dedicated resource to support the research teams from the Pediatric Immunotherapy Discovery and Development Network (PI-DDN) and the Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers (FusOnC2) Network.
- High-performance computing/DOE partnership: The laboratory plays a significant role in a national partnership to expand the use of high-performance computing in cancer research. Through work with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Department of Energy (DOE), the Frederick National Laboratory is developing a promising strategy for using exascale computing capabilities hand-in-hand with urgent scientific applications.
- Precision medicine clinical trial: The laboratory is in key components of an ambitious nationwide precision medicine clinical trial (NCI-MATCH) that matches cancer patients to potential therapies based on the genetic makeup of their tumors, rather than tumor location in the body.
- Genomic Data Commons: Frederick National Laboratory supports Cancer Moonshot through the Genomic Data Commons, a data sharing platform designed to give researchers the capability to share genomic and clinical data from cancer research programs to promote precision medicine in oncology.
- Making cancer research more accessible: The laboratory helps make it easier for patients and oncologists to access information from clinical research trials through a partnership between the National Cancer Institute and White House Presidential Innovation Fellows.
The Frederick National Laboratory manages and operates the National Cryo-Electron Microscopy Facility. The purpose is to collect high quality cryo-EM images with minimal delay between request for access and data collection. It addresses pressing national and regional needs for structural biologists to have access to advanced microscopes capable of supporting high-resolution cryo-EM studies. The facility went live May 15, 2017.
HPV Serology Lab
Human papillomavirus is one of the main infectious agents that causes cervical and other cancers. A vaccine is available, but there is still work to be done to increase the number of people receiving vaccinations. The Frederick National Laboratory's HPV Serology Laboratory launched in early 2017 with the goal of establishing a standardization intiative to promote harmonization and proficiency of HPV serology testing in vaccine trials. The work will accelerate the development and implementation of HPV vaccines worldwide, especially in resource-limited countries where cervical cancer is a public health burden.