The SPORE Career Development Program (CDP) will prepare physicians and scientists for independent careers in translational research in thyroid cancer. Our goal is that the investigators funded through this process will spend their professional lifetimes conducting translational research in thyroid cancer, and become intellectual leaders in the field. Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) is ideally suited for this task, because of the scientific and clinical environment at our main campus and affiliated institutions, and our long tradition of training physicians and scientists of the highest quality. Our institutional environment includes numerous NIH training grants, including a K12 for translational science training, a T32 grant to train PhDs in translational research in oncology, a Certificate Program in Clinical Investigation integrated with the Clinical and Translational Science Program at Weill Cornell, and a well established junior faculty mentoring program. We plan to use the SPORE Career Development funds over the next 5 years to enhance the existing formal training programs and tap into the talent of students matriculating and graduating from the Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School for Biomedical Sciences. We will encourage more physician trainees to focus on translational research in thyroid cancer and strive to attract basic scientists who are interested in devoting their postdoctoral training to making discoveries that have a realistic potential to lead to clinical applications.
The specific aims of the MSKCC Thyroid SPORE Career Development Program are to: 1) To support the education, training and research of advanced postdoctoral fellows for careers in translational research in thyroid cancer, using a dual clinical and laboratory mentorship model.
This aim, integrated but not directly funded by the SPORE, will lead to candidates for aim 2. 2) To recruit and mentor junior faculty to work in translational research in thyroid cancer. A Career Development Committee, cochaired by Dr. James Fagin and Dr. David Pfister, will direct the Career Development Program. The Committee will include representatives from both clinical and basic sciences.
Thyroid cancer has grown significantly in incidence over the last 30 years, and is a highly prevalent disease. Thyroid cancer presents a spectrum of challenges, from overtreatment of patients with a highly favorable prognosis to lack of effective therapies for patients with metastatic radioiodine-refractory disease and anaplastic cancers. CDP will play a key role in recruiting and training clinicians and scientists to develop as translational research investigators in thyroid cancer, with the goal of improving the outcomes of the disease.