The objectives of the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy are to (1) form a self- sustaining multidisciplinary research center within the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) that examines mechanisms of and prevention strategies for cancer-therapy-induced toxicity and (2) help junior investigators with a common research focus establish themselves as independent scientists. Achieving these goals will create a vibrant, synergistic research environment to comprehensively address the mechanisms of side effects of cancer therapy and to develop effective strategies to prevent such side effects. To our knowledge, few centers exist that focus on cancer survivors, and none take the paradigm-shifting approach of proactively addressing treatment-related toxicities. Specifically, this Center will provide an environment for young investigators to succeed as independent scientists (Aim 1); strengthen the overall research infrastructure at UAMS and the Cancer Institute (Aim 2); and ensure that the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy becomes self-sustaining (Aim 3). The four initial Project Leaders are promising new/early-stage investigators with their own active research programs and established collaborations with fellow Project Leaders and/or mentors. All are in the tenure track with their own research laboratories, and all have been provided generous institutional startup packages by their departments. Opportunities will be provided by implementing individualized mentoring and faculty development plans and by offering guidance and support from an administrative and two scientific cores. A high likelihood of success is ensured by strong institutional support combined with active interest from funding agencies in improving quality of life among cancer survivors. To replace Project Leaders who achieve independence and graduate from COBRE support, a pipeline of new Project Leaders is ensured through institutional support for recruitment of junior faculty, combined with a structured pilot project program. Building strong Center cores and collaborations with existing institutional cores will also contribute to establishing the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy as a self-sustaining center on campus. The Center's progress will be guided by External and Internal Advisory Committees and a Core Oversight Committee. The Internal Advisory Committee, comprised of individuals in key positions, with broad representation from across the institution and with a vested interest in the Center's achievements, will ensure the initial success of the Center as well as its long-term viability as an independent unit on campus.
Many cancer survivors cured of their original malignancy suffer from treatment-related problems, ranging from mild psychosocial disabilities to life-threatening physical sequelae. Comparatively little effort has been directed toward determining the mechanisms that are responsible for side effects that persist after cancer therapy and at developing effective interventions to prevent them. This COBRE Center addresses these unmet needs and ensures that advances in oncology go hand in hand with efforts to optimize the quality of life of cancer survivors, thereby maximizing the number of uncomplicated cancer cures.
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