A major goal of this SPORE and, more specifically, this program is to identify and fund projects that will leadto clinically testable hypotheses aimed at reducing the incidence and mortality rate of head and neck canceror improving the quality of life of patients with head and neck cancers. The DRP has continued to supportnew, novel research in head and neck cancer, with 12 DRP awards made to talented investigators (MitchellFrederick, Ph.D., Ann Marie Gillenwater, M.D., Michael Story, Ph.D., Ho-Young Lee, Ph.D., Julie Izzo, M.D.,Vassiliki A. Papadimitrakopoulou, M.D., Mahitosh Mandel, Ph.D., K.S. Clifford Chao, M.D., Pulivarthi Rao,Ph.D., Gianpietro Dotti, M.D., Nadarajah Vigneswaran, D.M.D., and Waldemar Priebe, Ph.D., over the past 4years. In addition, 12 DRP proposals were submitted in response to the Fall 2006 solicitation, which wererecently reviewed and, with input of our Internal Advisors and Executive Committee, will allow funding ofthree additional awards to Faye M. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., Ja Seok Koo, Ph.D., in early 2007, and asubsequent award to an investigator from Rice University, Rebecca Kortum-Richards, Ph.D. The specificobjectives of the Developmental Research Program are to:1. Solicit pilot projects in head and neck cancer translational research that have significant potential forreducing the incidence and mortality rate of head and neck cancer and/or improving the quality of life ofpatients with head and neck cancers.2. Foster collaborative efforts among SPORE investigators and with other investigators to encourage thedevelopment of new and innovative ideas and approaches.3. Encourage and assist young investigators with promising preliminary data developed with support of thisProgram to apply for extramural peer-reviewed funding.4. When necessary or possible, promote the most promising projects in the Developmental ResearchProgram to full SPORE research projects.The projects funded through the Developmental Research Program are diverse but share common themesrelated to their translational potential in head and neck cancers. In response to our previous review, we haverevised and clarified the process by which applications are solicited from qualified candidates, and haveinitiated a new collaboration, based on an institutional U54 grant ('Partnership for Excellence'), with thePuerto Rico Cancer Center at the University of Puerto Rico to enhance our outreach in soliciting noveldevelopmental projects from qualified candidates, particularly women and minority investigators. We believethese and other changes to our application will significantly strengthen this program over the next grantcycle.

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National Cancer Institute (NCI)
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University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
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