In this application, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Divisions of Adult and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, the Department of Radiation Oncology, the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) and the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology propose to renew funding for the UNC Oncology Clinical/ Translational Research Training Program (OCT-RTP). All four of the components will contribute mentors and research resources to the proposed training program, and all components except UNC-LCCC will contribute scholars. OCT-RTP will admit two scholars per year. The PI, Dr. Norman Sharpless, is Professor of Medicine and Genetics, a member of the Hematology/Oncology division, and is the LCCC Associate Director for Translational Research. Dr. Sharpless has extensive experience in cancer research in the areas of murine models, novel therapeutics, Phase I trials and commercialization of intellectual property. Dr Thomas Stinchcombe, Associate Professor and Hematology/Oncology fellowship program director, has newly assumed the role of Program Director. The program's objectives are to establish a highly motivated and rigorously trained cadre of physician clinical researchers who are competitive in seeking research support and who will become successful, independent patient-oriented cancer investigators. Training resources that will be available for the OCT-RTP include: the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, the UNC School of Medicine K30 Clinical Research Curriculum and the UNC Program on Ethnicity Culture and Health Outcomes. The goals of the OCT-RTP are to increase the quality and quantity of patient-oriented research, including all phases of clinical research and particularly that involving a translational component. The foundation of the proposed training program will be the participation of highly qualified basic science and clinical mentors assigned to each scholar with mentoring activities coordinated by a mentor integration panel. An internal advisory committee that includes senior faculty from each of the four components will select and monitor the progress of scholars, while an external advisory committee will review the program annually. Since its inception, the OCT-RTP has enrolled six Scholars who records are detailed in the progress report. Our mentorship panel has evolved as some faculty members have left and new faculty have been recruited. One external advisory board member has rotated off and been replaced by A William Blackstock MD. Facilities and resources for the program have evolved to insure even stronger support for this program since its initial funding.
The rapid pace of both laboratory and clinical discoveries in cancer research has created the need to develop a new generation of cancer researchers who are able to perform both clinical and laboratory research, often referred to as translational research. The development of this new cadre of highly motivated and rigorously trained physicians will accelerate the speed of advances in cancer care. The purpose of the K12 program at UNC is to assist in the development of these physicians through a program of required courses, research support, grant writing support, and close mentoring by senior faculty members. While in the K12 program scholars from the fields of radiation oncology, adult and pediatric oncology, gastroenterology and hepatology will collaborate with senior investigators at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center on a research project. The ultimate goal of the program is to develop clinician scientists and research projects that will be independently funded, and physicians who will be able to mentor the next generation of physicians.
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