20% of all human cancers are associated with viruses functioning as biological cofactors in driving these cancers. Some of these viruses may have a direct role in mediating these cancers as in the case of HIV related cancers which includes Kaposi's sarcoma, pleural effusion lymphomas and lymphoproliferative disease. There is also an increase in the number of HPV related patients for example in the immunocompromised patients who are on HAART therapy and in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas. The Tumor Virology Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania serves as the central forum for facilitating interactions among investigators involved in cancer-related viral research on the Penn campus which provides a more directed training for trainees. Program members have expertise in EBV, KSHV, HPV, HCV, HIV and other retroviruses. The biomedical community at Penn would like to continue the momentum of this training program in Tumor Virology for training predoctoral and postdoctoral students. There are 18 trainers in this program all of whom are committed to training pre and postdoctoral fellows for biomedical research careers. All faculty have well-funded NIH programs supported by the R21, R01, R43 or P01 mechanism, DOD and other private foundation monies. The training program seeks to continue support of 2 predoctoral and 4 postdoctoral students annually for each of the 5 years of funding. The number of trainees in labs of the trainers of this program has been consistently increasing and we anticipate this trend continuing in the coming years. Thus, we would like to have available slots for this continued increase in the number of predoctoral and postdoctoral candidates in the program. Viral related cancers are expected to increase as the technology for identifying these agents improves. We expect to provide an atmosphere of collaboration between clinical and basic scientists for our trainees who will have the opportunity to formulate ideas which will lead to basic and translational studies initiating and maintaining a cohesive group in tumor virology. The increased incidence of viral associated cancers, the commitment of the trainers and the institution with a well organized training program will provide an outstanding training environment for pre and postdoctoral candidates in tumor virology.

Public Health Relevance

The Tumor Virology program supports 2 pre doctoral and 4 post-doctoral trainees every year and provides an intellectual environment for the training of these individuals with a directed focus in Tumor Virology. We have been extremely proud of the progress we have made with providing one of the cutting edge programs in the country in this area. Tumor viruses are an important area of study with about 20% of human cancers now associated with viral agents and so this puts our training in a perfect position for a successful career in the next 5-10 years.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
Program Officer
Lim, Susan E
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University of Pennsylvania
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