The mission of the Developmental Research Program (DRP) of the Pancreatic Cancer SPORE is to identify and fund developmental research projects which explore innovative ideas with significant potential to reduce the incidence, morbidity, and mortality of pancreatic cancer. Further, we propose to involve both Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and Tuskegee University (TU) in both this program and the Career Development Program of the overall SPORE. Both the Pancreatic SPORE and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) have successful track records for obtaining and administering developmental research funds. Also, the Division of Preventive Medicine, which houses both the CCC Biostatistics and Informatics Unit and the Minority Health and Research Center, has several years of productive collaboration with both MSM and TU relevant to these programs. The DRP is a most valuable and productive component ofthe UAB Pancreas, Breast, Brain, and prior Ovarian SPORE programs. The development of innovative research ideas in pancreatic cancer is critically dependent on the availability of flexible funding. This Pancreatic Cancer SPORE intends to fund 6 developmental pilot projects annually (two at UAB and four at UMN, including those selected from MSM and TU). The projects will be funded at $50,000/year (6 projects will require $300,000/year). The funds are derived from the proposed SPORE budgets ($50,000 UAB budget and $50,000 UMN budget), UAB institutional funds ($50,000) and UMN institutional funds ($150,000) as described in the institutional letters of commitment. Funding is for 1 year and is renewable for 1 additional year depending on progress. The success of a DRP is determined by its ability to recruit and train junior or new investigators in pancreatic cancer who are committed to translational pancreatic cancer research. The benchmarks for success of the program include participation of awardees in major projects, publication of translational pancreatic cancer research in excellent peer-reviewed journals, and external peer-reviewed funding. A major success of this DRP has been the engagement of UAB and UMN scientists previously not focused specifically on pancreatic cancer. In particular, Dr. Chris Klug is a very good molecular biologist whose major emphasis had been in acute leukemia and leukemic murine models. His project brought his molecular genetic expertise into transgenic pancreatic cancer models, which has progressed to a major Project of this competitive renewal resubmission. Similarly, Dr. Dan Saltzman, Associate Professor of Surgery, has a committed interest in augmentation of the immune system through attenuated Sa/mone//a-lL-2 to fight hepatoblastoma in children. His collaboration with Dr. Chris Klug (Project 1) led to the development of a novel syngeneic immunocompetent pancreatic cancer mouse model, successful IND, and FDA approval ofthe Salmonetla- L-2 immunotoxin for pancreatic cancer clinical trial with a recently funded (2008) R21. Another DRP success to highlight is Dr. Martin Johnson, whose prior efforts were focused on the pharmacogenomics of FU in colon cancer. Dr. Johnson developed a critical assay via MA-RT-PCR to evaluate nanogram quantities of RNA from pancreatic FNA samples. Dr. Johnson's work has produced two publications documenting the reproducibility and accuracy of the technique and sample acquisition. This has proven to be a critical element of the Tissue Core and has provided further basis for correlative studies proposed in Project 3. The success of this program is also evidenced in that we have 2 pilot studies ongoing at minority institutions

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National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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University of Alabama Birmingham
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