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Last Updated: 12/03/2021

DCTD Convenes Workshop on Circadian Rhythm and Chronomedicine for Cancer and Other Diseases in the Era of Precision Medicine

Strategic Workshop: Circadian Rhythm, Chronomedicine for Cancer and Other Diseases in the Area of Precision Medicine

On September 27-28, 2017, just prior to the announcement of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine External Link award to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm,” NCI held a Strategic Workshop: Circadian Rhythm, Chronomedicine for Cancer and Other Diseases in the Area of Precision Medicine (agenda).

The meeting Chair, Dan Xi, PhD, Program Director, and Director of the Research Development and Support Program, Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM), DCTD, planned and led the workshop with input from the workshop planning committee. This comprehensive, trans-NIH workshop was also co-funded by NCI’s Division of Cancer Prevention, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Approximately 50 attendees from NIH, academia, and cancer centers participated, with the following diverse expertise: circadian rhythms, circadian clock, sleep research, chronotherapy, cancer therapeutics research, radiation therapy, population and behavior science, cancer biology, molecular biology, computation and mathematical modeling, nutrition, metabolism, obesity and diabetes, the microbiome, the immune system and inflammation, neuroscience, aging and dementia, stem cells, pediatrics, biomarkers, and clinical trials.

Meeting Goals

  • Assess the status of circadian rhythm and sleep research in cancer research, other diseases, and chronotherapy, from basic biology to population, translational, and clinical research
  • Discuss the scientific gaps, needs, and opportunities
  • Provide input to NCI/NIH regarding future initiatives and priority research areas
  • Ultimately improve our fundamental understanding of human circadian clock biology and improve translational application in public health, disease diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and health disparities across the lifespan.

Keynote Presentation and Speaker Panels

  • Keynote Lecture: Dr. Chi Dang, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the Wistar Institute; “Cancer Clock Connections: Progress and Provocative Questions.”
  • Molecular Biology of Circadian Rhythm and Cancer Development
  • Circadian Clock, Sleep on Health and Diseases, Biomarkers, Big Data and Systems Modeling
  • Circadian Clock, Nutrition and Metabolism 
  • Circadian Rhythm and Microbiota 
  • Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Effects on Inflammation and Immune System 
  • Chronomedicine and Clinical Trials 

Discussion Points and Future Work

  • Develop a circadian rhythm/clock atlas in health and disease states
  • Potential importance of incorporating “Biological Circadian Clock/Time” as a variable in medical research
  • Envision the future 5-10 years of the field and its translational application for health and medicine
  • White paper coordination and development to serve as a guide to future research
  • Trans-NIH working group to further stimulate research in this field
  • Priorities to integrate our basic understanding of clock mechanisms and disease with chronomedicine approaches to enhance precision medicine:
    • Reference atlas (Circadian Biology Atlas): from molecules, cells, to organism of animal models and humans across the lifespan, such as transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and immune cell function
    • Technology for time-series/circadian output monitoring of molecular and physiological events, new tools, and approaches to study system-level interactions
    • Common database, data analysis, computation tool, and standard protocols for circadian biology in a coordination center
    • Landscape of circadian clock genes and clock-regulated genes in disease tissue
    • Biomarkers of circadian phase of the host and biomarker(s) and genetic predisposition of host chronotype
    • Circadian rhythm/clock-based prevention and therapeutic strategies, and a new class of drug targets

Contact Dan Xi, PhD ( with questions about this workshop.

Meeting Attendees
Meeting Attendees