Now in its 20th year, the UNC Breast Cancer SPORE's Developmental Research Program (DRP) continues to promote novel translational breast cancer research. The Program includes mechanisms for stimulating grant applications, evaluating proposals, selecting projects, and monitoring progress. Drs. Lisa Carey and Charles Perou, SPORE overall co-directors and leaders of the UNC Lineberger's Breast Cancer Research Program, oversee the DRP mechanisms for identification, evaluation, selection, and monitoring. Application mechanisms include Cancer Center-wide competitive awards and rapidly emerging opportunities. Evaluation and selection processes include independent peer review and consultation with the SPORE Executive Committee and senior leadership and external advisors (including advocates). The SPORE Director/PI (Dr. Earp), with input from the Co-Directors/Co-PIs (Carey, Perou) and the Executive Committee, makes final decisions regarding selection and budget. The DRP has continued to be effective. During the past six years (Years 14 - 19), the program funded 17 projects, bringing the overall total to 61 projects since the SPORE inception in 1992. As in past years, DRP projects have led to full-fledged SPORE projects and independently funded projects as well as publications. For example, three of the five projects proposed for Year 20-24 SPORE support have involved DRP projects from the last four years: (1) Project 5 (Johnson, Earp) is building upon DRP project #54 (Johnson);(2) Project 4 (Troester, Amos) grew directly out of DRP project #53 (Troester);and (3) Project 2 (Serody, Dees) has been developed through DRF project #51 (Serody). In addition. Projects 1 (Millikan, Carey, Lin) and 3 (Perou, Carey) were originally based on work that was initiated DRP in earlier cycles. Among 17 DRP projects supported the last six years, six have just begun. Among the eleven more mature projects, all are progressing with publications, full projects or extramural funding. Ten have resulted in extramural funding (including three NCI R01s, two NCI K23, two Komen grants, one DoD Idea Award, one NIEHS U01, and one Stand Up to Cancer Award). Eight projects have produced publications, and three have supported development of clinical trials with translational research components. During Years 20-24, UNC will again commit $200,000 annually to developmental clinical, translational breast cancer research projects. We request $100,000 in SPORE funds to combine with $100,000 in institutional commitment to fund approximately three to four projects per year at $25,000 to $100,000/year. During the last SPORE cycle, institutional funding averaged $200,000 yearly, doubling our stated commitment.

Public Health Relevance

The Developmental Research Program promotes novel translational breast cancer research by providing mechanisms for stimulating grant applications, evaluating and selecting projects, and monitoring progress.

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National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
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