In an effort to promote excellent translational research in breast cancer, the Developmental Research Program (DRP) is a major focus of this Breast SPORE. The support of pilot projects allows eariy, high-risk research to move solid basic science findings toward clinical application as well as migrating provocative clinical observations back to the laboratory to understand their mechanistic basis. Main criteria for selection and funding of developmental (pilot) projects include scientific merit, relevance to mammary biology and/or breast cancer, collaboration, and potential for extramural peer-reviewed funding. There is also an emphasis on utilization of emerging technologies and on young investigators. During the current cycle and with generous institutional funds to supplement the SPORE budget, we have allocated $200,000 per year to support 21 pilot projects. This investment has resulted in at least seven R01, ROI equivalent, or K type grants for a combined budget well in excess of the investment made in the Program. In addition, data generated by three DRPs have been highly supportive of at least three multi-investigator, P50-type, or consortia type grants The DRP has also produced at least 17 peer-reviewed published manuscripts. Four investigators funded by the DRP during the last cycle are now Project co-PIs and or Core Directors in this competing renewal application. The DRP is co-led by Carios L. Arteaga, Jennifer Pietenpol, and Scott Hiebert, all with leadership roles at VICC. Applications for pilot projects are open to all Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical Center faculty members in order to maximize the number and breadth of research applications. Fifty-four applications were submitted and reviewed during the last 5 years of which 21 were funded, representing a funding rate of 39%. Special efforts are made to encourage gender and ethnic diversity among the applicants. Applications are reviewed through a multi-step process. After receiving the applications in July, Drs. Arteaga, Pietenpol and Hiebert jointly select 2- 3 expert reviewers per project. At least one of these is a reviewer from outside Vanderbilt.

Public Health Relevance

We believe that by any metric, this has been a strong and productive Program. For a number of applicants, support from the Breast SPORE represents their first, independent research grant. Therefore, the written comments that the applicants receive after review of their projects are invaluable for subsequent submissions of larger research grant proposals to the NIH, ACS, Komen Foundation, DOD, etc. or for resubmission of the pilot application.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZCA1-RPRB-0)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
United States
Zip Code
Croessmann, Sarah; Sheehan, Jonathan H; Lee, Kyung-Min et al. (2018) PIK3CA C2 Domain Deletions Hyperactivate Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), Generate Oncogene Dependence, and Are Exquisitely Sensitive to PI3K? Inhibitors. Clin Cancer Res 24:1426-1435
Elion, David L; Cook, Rebecca S (2018) Harnessing RIG-I and intrinsic immunity in the tumor microenvironment for therapeutic cancer treatment. Oncotarget 9:29007-29017
Williams, Michelle M; Lee, Linus; Werfel, Thomas et al. (2018) Intrinsic apoptotic pathway activation increases response to anti-estrogens in luminal breast cancers. Cell Death Dis 9:21
Hyman, David M; Piha-Paul, Sarina A; Won, Helen et al. (2018) HER kinase inhibition in patients with HER2- and HER3-mutant cancers. Nature 554:189-194
Luo, Na; Nixon, Mellissa J; Gonzalez-Ericsson, Paula I et al. (2018) DNA methyltransferase inhibition upregulates MHC-I to potentiate cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses in breast cancer. Nat Commun 9:248
Sudhan, Dhivya R; Schwarz, Luis J; Guerrero-Zotano, Angel et al. (2018) Extended Adjuvant Therapy with Neratinib Plus Fulvestrant Blocks ER/HER2 Crosstalk and Maintains Complete Responses of ER+/HER2+ Breast Cancers: Implications to the ExteNET Trial. Clin Cancer Res :
Werfel, Thomas A; Wang, Shan; Jackson, Meredith A et al. (2018) Selective mTORC2 Inhibitor Therapeutically Blocks Breast Cancer Cell Growth and Survival. Cancer Res 78:1845-1858
Zhao, Shilin; Li, Chung-I; Guo, Yan et al. (2018) RnaSeqSampleSize: real data based sample size estimation for RNA sequencing. BMC Bioinformatics 19:191
Santos Guasch, Gabriela L; Beeler, J Scott; Marshall, Clayton B et al. (2018) p73 Is Required for Ovarian Follicle Development and Regulates a Gene Network Involved in Cell-to-Cell Adhesion. iScience 8:236-249
Jovanovi?, Bojana; Sheng, Quanhu; Seitz, Robert S et al. (2017) Comparison of triple-negative breast cancer molecular subtyping using RNA from matched fresh-frozen versus formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue. BMC Cancer 17:241

Showing the most recent 10 out of 341 publications