We request renewal of our multidisciplinary K-12 training program in translational oncology research for senior fellows and junior faculty of the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC). This program was first funded in 2002 and has supported 14 fellows from diverse subspecialty backgrounds (surgery, medicine, radiation oncology) and with diverse research interests, as well as two Minority Fellows funded by CURE Supplements. . Its objective is to produce a next generation of clinical investigators who work at the interface between laboratory science, population science, and clinical medicine. It emphasizes research training in molecular oncology and its application to clinical medicine. Each trainee is guided by two mentors, one for their laboratory or epidemiologic investigation, and a second mentor for their clinical investigation. Trainees spend the initial two years of service on the grant pursuing the preclinical component of their work and acquiring the didactic background in clinical investigation necessary for the second two-three year phase of their work, which emphasizes the development and initiation of the translational component. The precise timing and content of each phase depends upon the prior training of the awardee and the nature of the project. Trainees participate as members of DF/HCC disease programs throughout their tenure on this grant. Scholars pursue postgraduate training in the methods, and in the ethical, and regulatory aspects of clinical research. We require scholars to obtain an advanced degree if one has not already been obtained. Many scholars enter the program with PhD degrees in laboratory sciences;their training emphasizes preparation for clinical investigation and the responsible conduct of research even as they pursue further laboratory work. Others come from a predominantly clinical background and require intensive hands-on training in laboratory or in epidemiological methods and to enhance their understanding of cancer biology.. All eleven graduates of our K-12 program currently occupy faculty positions in DF/HCC research facilities or in other universities, as do all five of the current scholars. All graduates hold independent peer reviewed funding. Mentors are selected from a permanent list of senior faculty of Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the DF/HCC. Faculty at the David Koch Center for Integrative Cancer Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have also served as mentors, and its Director, Tyler Jacks, participates as a member of our Advisory committee. Additional mentors are added to this list as needed. The laboratories of the Harvard Medical School (HMS), the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), and the DF/HCC consortium hospitals may host K-12 scholars. Scholar have access to the extensive clinical trials system (with 500 active trials) and the 19 core facilities of the DF/HCC, and to hospital research cores and facilities.. Candidates are drawn from the pool of physicians who have completed clinical training in an oncological specialty, and have at least two years of further basic or clinic research experience. Awardees include medical, radiation, and surgical oncologists, although, because of the emphasis on drug development, medical oncologists have predominated. K-12 awardees are selected through a highly competitive DF/HCC-wide solicitation as slots become available, with specific encouragement of women and minority candidates. Five of our eleven graduates have been women, and two K-12 scholars have been funded with CURE Supplements from NCI. An advisory committee, composed of 16 members, including 5 women and two minority investigators, with diverse interests in clinical and laboratory research and in academic career development, selects trainees from the applicant pool. The same advisory committee reviews the progress of the candidates, including reports from both laboratory and clinical mentors, on a semiannual basis, and recommends changes in mentorship, research program, or trainee status (graduation from the program). The advisory committee seeks the input of training program directors and institutional offices for minority and women's career development in order to increase the diversity of our applicant pool. Two of the six new scholars appointed during the last grant renewal were minority scientists supported through CURE Minority Supplements to the K- 12. A minority fellow mentoring program is expected to increase minority applications in future grant periods. Based upon the notable track record of publications and academic progress of past trainees, and the strong and growing pool of exceptional candidates for slots on the K-12 grant, we request five slots for the renewal of this grant.

Public Health Relevance

The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is undergoing a significant transformation, due to the rapid evolution of our understanding of the biology underlying the disease. This new knowledge is improving every aspect of cancer management, from early diagnosis to targeted therapies. This grant application would support career development for physician scientists who have completed fellowship training in a cancer subspecialty (surgery, radiation oncology, medical or pediatric oncology), and who wish to conduct an extended period of mentored research and didactic training to prepare themselves for translating the findings of molecular oncology to improve the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of cancer

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Physician Scientist Award (Program) (PSA) (K12)
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Study Section
Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Damico, Mark W
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Massachusetts General Hospital
United States
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