This candidate is an Assistant Professor in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Emory University. His long- term career goal is to become established as an independent translational researcher with recognized superior expertise in clinical care of lung cancer patients, conduct of clinical trials leading to the development of new treatment options for small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and in the preclinical evaluation of novel compounds likely to develop into effective therapy for SCLC. The candidate is interested in advancing the care and clinical outcome of SCLC patients by investigating new treatment options and developing effective strategies to improve on the efficacy of currently available therapies. The candidate has proposed a career development plan that includes a multi-faceted training and mentoring program designed to provide an intense, patient- oriented research experience. These goals will be achieved through his lead role in the design and conduct of two clinical trials enrolling SCLC patients. The first trial is a single institution study designed by he candidate that will evaluate the clinical efficacy of arsenic trioxide in relapsed disease. If successful, this clinical trial will introduce a novel therapy into the treatment options for the refractory patient population. The second clinical trial is a direct translation of the candidate's preclinical laboratory work designed to evaluate whether the addition of ABT-888, an orally administered PARP inhibitor, will enhance the efficacy of standard chemotherapy agents without increased toxicity in newly diagnosed SCLC patients. This study is planned as a multi-institution clinical trial to be conducted through the established cooperative group mechanism of ECOG. Additionally, in preparation for a long term career as a translational scientist, the candidate proposes the establishment of a SCLC tumor bank by xenogeneic transplantation of tumor samples to immunodeficient mice during this period of mentored training. This unique resource will support ongoing and future preclinical evaluation of new anticancer agents and facilitate the understanding of the unique biology of SCLC. Simultaneous with this intense practical experience in patient-oriented research, the candidate will participate in a formal well-structured didactic curriculum leading to the award of a Masters of Science in Clinical Research from his home institution, Emory University. This course of study is a rigorous multi-year curriculum designed to provide participants with a deep knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the ethics, design, conduct and regulation of patient-oriented research. This overall training and practical experience will occur under the lead mentorship of Dr. Fadlo Khuri, an accomplished translational researcher with track record of successfully mentoring all cadres of clinicians and basic scientists. He will be assisted by co-mentors with complementary expertise including Suresh Ramalingam, MD, an internationally renowned clinical investigator with superb expertise in lung cancer;Shi-Yong Sun, PhD, a highly experienced basic scientist and a world leader in mTOR biology;and Mourad Tighiouart, PhD, a biostatistician with strong interest in design of clinical trials to evaluate promising anticancer agents. This training program will occur at Emory University and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University which provide an ideal environment for learning, training and practical exposure in patient-oriented research and a unique opportunity for collaboration between basic scientists and clinical investigators. The Winship Cancer Institute is an NCI-designated cancer center which ensures the proper conduct of investigator-initiated single center studies as well as participation in large cooperative group clinical trials as proposed in this application. It is expected that at the end of this mentoring period, the candidate will be adequately prepared to pursue an independent research career focused on SCLC and will be highly competitive for research funding and academic leadership roles.

Public Health Relevance

Candidate plans to advance the care and clinical outcome of small cell lung cancer by investigating new treatment options and developing an effective strategy to improve on currently available therapies through clinical trials for small cell lung cancer and in preclinical evaluation of novel compounds with potential to develop into effective therapy for lung cancer

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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Subcommittee G - Education (NCI)
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Ojeifo, John O
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Emory University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Owonikoko, Taofeek K; Busari, Adeniyi K; Kim, Sungjin et al. (2018) Race-, Age-, and Gender-Based Characteristics and Toxicities of Targeted Therapies on Phase I Trials. Oncology 95:138-146
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Owonikoko, Taofeek K; Zhang, Guojing; Kim, Hyun S et al. (2016) Patient-derived xenografts faithfully replicated clinical outcome in a phase II co-clinical trial of arsenic trioxide in relapsed small cell lung cancer. J Transl Med 14:111
Owonikoko, Taofeek K (2015) Inhibitors of mTOR pathway for cancer therapy, moving on from rapalogs to TORKinibs. Cancer 121:3390-2
Owonikoko, Taofeek K; Dahlberg, Suzanne E; Khan, Saad A et al. (2015) A phase 1 safety study of veliparib combined with cisplatin and etoposide in extensive stage small cell lung cancer: A trial of the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (E2511). Lung Cancer 89:66-70
Kumar, Mukesh; Ernani, Vinicius; Owonikoko, Taofeek K (2015) Biomarkers and targeted systemic therapies in advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Mol Aspects Med 45:55-66
Owonikoko, Taofeek K; Zhang, Guojing; Deng, Xingming et al. (2014) Poly (ADP) ribose polymerase enzyme inhibitor, veliparib, potentiates chemotherapy and radiation in vitro and in vivo in small cell lung cancer. Cancer Med 3:1579-94
Pillai, Rathi N; Owonikoko, Taofeek K (2014) Small cell lung cancer: therapies and targets. Semin Oncol 41:133-42

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