Systemic therapy for cancer has evolved dramatically in recent years with the emergence of immunemodulationtherapiesthatinduceresponsesandprolongsurvivalinmultiplemalignancies.Itiswidely believed that these advances are only thevanguard in a rapidly evolving field. Investigators from Yale School of Medicine have played key roles in both pre-clinical and clinical advances in immuno-oncology. Continued advancement requires better understanding of primary and secondary resistance to immune therapy, the biologyofimmunesuppressioninthetumormicroenvironment,rationaldrugcombinations,drugtoxicitiesand noveltrialdesignsspecificforimmunetherapies.Hence,thereisanurgentneedtotrainjuniorinvestigatorsto conduct patient-oriented cancer immunology and immunotherapy studies to accelerate the pace of these advances.TheproposedImmuno-OncologyTrainingProgram(IOTP)willaddressthiscriticalneedbytraining both PhD and MD or MD/PhD Scholars in clinically-relevant immuno-oncology and translational immunology. IOTPwillbedistinctfromexistingtrainingprogramsatYaleastheonlyonetospecificallyfocusontrainingof juniorfacultyinpatient-orientedresearchinimmuno-oncologyandimmunotherapy.IOTPwillcapitalizeonthe wealth of expertise at our institution in immunobiology and immunotherapy. IOTP faculty have extensive track records of mentorship and are actively pursuing research in these areas. IOTP will be supported by the Yale Cancer Center (YCC) and will synergize with the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation (YCCI), which will provide some foundational courses. Key distinguishing features will be didactic and practical training developed specifically for this program. The two-year curriculum includes courses on basic immunology and cancer immunology, immunotherapy-specific clinical trial design, the Cancer Immunology Forum and an individually tailored, two-year Translational Immuno-oncology research project encompassing both laboratory and clinical research. A panel of mentors including both a basic and clinical faculty member will be appointed for each Scholar. Junior faculty within five years of appointment at Yale School of Medicine will be eligible to apply to IOTP, with up to five scholars appointed at any one time. Consistent with campus-wide efforts to encourage diversity, a Recruitment & Diversity Subcommittee is charged with maximizing diversity of the Scholar population. The program will be led by an Executive Committee comprised of the PI (Dr. Harriet Kluger, YCC Associate Director for Education and Training) and two Co-Directors with complementary expertise(Drs.MadhavDhodpakar,co-LeaderoftheCancerImmunologyResearchProgram,andAlessandro Santin,LeaderoftheGynecologicOncologyResearchTeam).Insummary,theIOTPwilldrawuponanareaof profound institutional strength and enable the Yale Cancer Center to focus specifically on cross-disciplinary trainingofscholarsinCancerImmunotherapy,afieldingreatneedofwell-trainedbasicandclinicalscientists toaccommodateitsexplosivegrowth.
Immune therapies have resulted in prolonged survival for patients with various types of cancer, and are changing the landscape for cancer research and cancer care. Many of the major advances were led by scientists and clinical researchers at Yale School of Medicine. We propose to capitalize on this expertise as well as the rich resources available at Yale to train the next generation of Cancer Immunologists and Immunotherapistscapableofconductingtranslationalresearchtoadvancepatientcare.