Our History

In 1982, American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) was founded to advance the simple but then-radical idea that cancer could be prevented.

AICR focused on the link between diet and cancer, and immediately began supporting cutting-edge research in this area and educating the public about the results.

Today, we continue to fund research in the field of nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention, treatment and survival.

We interpret the results of that research, along with findings from the global scientific community, to craft reliable, evidence-based recommendations for lower cancer risk.

Our Impact

 AICR has changed the modern understanding of cancer.

Only decades ago, most believed that cancer simply strikes the unlucky – and that nothing can be done about it.

Today, thanks to millions of dollars of AICR research, the world knows better.

  • Our research sheds unique light on the cancer process – and pinpoints the specific lifestyle choices that will save hundreds of thousands of lives every year in the US alone.
  • Our research also offers hope that cancer patients and survivors can take control of their health during and after treatment.

Thirty years ago, AICR stepped in to fill a critical research gap.

Today, thousands of studies later, we have produced the hard evidence that turned a once-radical notion into a universally accepted medical fact:

Every one of us can take steps to prevent cancer.

Thirty Years of AICR

1982 AICR founded to increase awareness of the diet-cancer link described in the landmark National Academy of Sciences report, “Diet, Nutrition and Cancer.” Developed first AICR dietary health guidelines.

1983 AICR begins funding laboratory research and awards its first research grants

1984 AICR awards first of several education grants to the Vincent T. Lombardi Cancer Research Center at Georgetown University Medical Center to support the startup of the Breast Health Care Resource Center.

1985 AICR’s free newsletter, which is mailed quarterly to supporters reaches one million subscribers.

1986 AICR increases outreach programs to the American public through Diet, Nutrition and Cancer Seminars, syndicated weekly cooking columns and a free Nutrition Hotline.

1987 AICR supports novel research on soy and cancer, with a research grant to Dr. Steven Barnes, helping stimulate increased government (NCI) funding for research in this area.

1988 AICR starts funding groundbreaking research on broccoli by Dr. Paul Talalay. His lab will go on to publish over 200 papers with AICR support, and his work will inspire an international groundswell of interest in the anti-cancer activity of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables.

1989 AICR establishes a Health Professionals and Educators Program to support MDs, RDs and other clinicians in their work with patients.

1990 AICR launches its inaugural Scientific Research Conference.

1991 AICR’s affiliate the World Cancer Research Fund is founded to take the organization’s urgent mission international

1992 AICR supports innovative research on the interaction of human nutrition and genetic variation being done by Dr. Steven Zeisel.

1993 A new AICR daily radio feature, “Karen’s Kitchen” is carried by more than 300 radio stations nationwide.

1994 AICR provides core grant funding for The China Study, a seminal project conducted by Professor T. Colin Campbell.

1997 AICR/WCRF publishes its first landmark expert report: Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer; a Global Perspective, which gathers and interprets the available research on diet and cancer.

In the wake of the report, AICR updates its diet and health guidelines for cancer prevention.

1999 AICR’s award winning New American Plate campaign is launched providing simple, straightforward guidance on eating for a healthy weight and healthy life.

2000 AICR/WCRF launches a partnership with University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to establish a center for the study of diet, nutrition and cancer. Establishes a distinguished professorship as a first step in the process.

2001 AICR/WCRF launches the Marilyn Gentry Fellowship Program at UNC to encourage excellent young researchers to continue their career in the area of nutrition and cancer

2002 AICR puts the spotlight on the growing number of cancer survivors by holding first of several regional seminars for cancer survivors.

2003 AICR brings the emerging research on the link between obesity and increased cancer risk to the attention of the American public for the first time, through a co-ordinated media and education campaign.

2004 AICR is presented with the prestigious ADA President’s Circle Nutrition Education Award

2005 The AICR/WCRF Institute for the Advanced Study of Diet, Nutrition and Cancer opens at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2006 AICR leverages new media to launch e-publications for different audiences eNews and Healthy-e-Recipes reach 40,000 readers a month.

2007 AICR/WCRF publishes its second expert report, Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention: A Global Perspective, - the most comprehensive book ever published on the links between food, nutrition, physical activity and cancer prevention.

In the wake of the report, AICR updates its Recommendations for cancer prevention.

2008 AICR/WCRF establishes a long term commitment to keeping the expert report updated through our Continuous Update project which reviews new scientific evidence and if necessary, updates the report’s recommendations.

2009 AICR/WCRF publishes its cancer prevention policy report, Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention placing the recommendations of 2007 expert report in a broad, societal context. Launched at international event in London on February 26th and presented to US Congress on the same day.

2010 Research funding reaches more than $91 million for innovative research at leading universities, hospitals and research centers across the country.

2011 AICR/WCRF Continuous Update Project Report on Colorectal Cancer published. Confirms AICR's advice to avoid obesity, meat, alcohol; evidence that dietary fiber is protective grows stronger.
The AICR/WCRF Expert Report is heavily cited by government experts drafting the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans; USDA introduces a plate-based meal model similar to AICR's New American Plate.