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NCI to Fund SPORE Programs Targeting Specific Organ Cancers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Cancer Institute plans to fund a number of research centers over the next two years with grants supporting translational research projects that focus on cancers of specific organs.

Funded through its Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) program, NCI will fund between 16 and 24 awards that will conduct projects focused on improving early detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of these cancers.

The new SPORE grants will provide a total of up to $2.5 million in costs per year for five years for research at centers that conduct a range of activities and which contribute to the development of shared resource cores, research model systems, and collaborative projects with other centers.

The studies will be translational and will involve molecular, genetic, cellular, structural, and biochemical research approaches that aim to reach a translation endpoint within the grant's five-year term. The SPOREs also must include a development research program for pilot studies and a career development program to sustain careers focused on organ-based translational sciences.

Along with NCI, the SPORE funding is supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

For the purposes of this program, NCI defines translational projects as research that uses knowledge of human biology to test the feasibility of cancer-relevant interventions or which determines the biological basis for observations made in individuals or in populations at risk for cancer.

For NCI, these interventions could include molecular assays, early detection tools, imaging techniques, drugs, biological agents, and other methods.

Under the SPORE program, NCI recently awarded $11.5 million to fund a project at the University of Iowa and Mayo Clinic that will use genomics and genetics-based research approaches targeting lymphoma.

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