The purpose of the Developmental Research Program (DRP) is to stimulate the initiation, development and implementation of innovative research within the University of Pittsburgh Skin Cancer SPORE. The UPCI has sponsored a substantial amount of developmental research in the Melanoma and Skin Cancers Program (MSCP) over the past 20 years on an ad hoc basis, as new faculty with interests in these cancers have been recruited and as compelling new research concepts or infrastructure has been required to support these efforts. As an important component of this application for a Skin Cancer SPORE, we propose to shift to a more formal and regular pilot project program.
The Specific Aims of the DRP are: 1. To stimulate the initiation of novel research concepts related to melanoma and other skin cancers, that exhibit promise for development into full, translational research projects to be sponsored prospectively by the Skin Cancer SPORE 2. To stimulate the development of existing translational research concepts that have been applied successfully to other neoplasms/diseases, but that have not yet been applied to melanoma or other skin cancers, and which would be expected to develop into full projects sponsored prospectively by the Skin Cancer SPORE 3. To facilitate the development of research that may yield full projects to be sponsored prospectively by the SPORE 4. To increase the visibility of the SPORE'S basic and clinical research activities in order to increase the participation of basic scientists on the one hand, and clinicians and patients on the other, thereby fortifying the SPORE'S research efforts We intend to utilize the SPORE DRP to complement existing funding mechanisms that are available to the scientific and clinical investigation community of the UPCI and the University of Pittsburgh at large, including the UPCI's pilot grant program, the recently initiated Hillman Foundation Fellows in Innovative Cancer Research program, the Competitive Medical Research Fund of the UPMC, and departmental research support. To accomplish these goals, $150,000 of institutional support has been committed to provide sufficient levels for funding to underwrite two concurrent DRP proposals per year (i.e., $75,000 for each project). Awards will be made for one year, with the possibility for competitive renewal for a second year, pending significant progress made during the initial period of support.
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