We propose continuation of a multidisciplinary research training program in neuro-oncology based at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. The primary objective of this two-year program is to train physician-scientists capable of providing a critical bridge between the biological sciences and experimental therapeutics. In order to achieve this objective the training program emphasizes a didactic curriculum in clinical research methodology as well as mentor-supervised clinical and basic science research experiences. All scholars are also assigned a clinical trial project during the course of the training program. All clinical and laboratory mentors participating in this training program have extensive experience in neuro-oncology research and training and provide an excellent resource for scholars interested in translational research. All scholars have access to senior biostatistical and computing support on all projects. An internal advisory committee chaired by the program director, as well as an external advisory committee, oversee the training program. In addition to clinical and basic science research facilities at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Brigham and Women's Hospital, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, the program includes investigators at the Children's Hospital, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There is no overlap between our unique grant focused on nervous system tumors and other training grants at Harvard focused on adult medical oncology. Candidates include physicians completing clinical training in adult and pediatric neuro-oncology, adult and pediatric neurosurgical oncology, adult and pediatric medical oncology and radiation oncology. A qualified pool of applicants from these disciplines can be expected to grow from existing and developing sources. Each trainee has a dedicated two-year block for research and training with minimal clinical responsibilities. Four postdoctoral positions are requested per year for five years with each scholar making a two-year commitment to investigation. Applicants will be selected through active recruitment by the program and individual faculty. We believe that the proposed training program capitalizes on a group of outstanding mentors and superb training facilities and will have the capability to produce productive patient-oriented researchers in neuro-oncology. Since the original award 10 years ago the quality of the program has steadily improved based upon such metrics as diversity in scholar clinical specialties, master degrees awarded, scholar publications, academic placement and scholar grant awards.

Public Health Relevance

This grant is designed to train brain cancer specialists in the methods of research. The training program will expose the physician to coursework and hands-on experience in the laboratory. It is hoped that after their training these specialists will advance the field by developing clinical trials to test new treatments for brain cancer patients.

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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