Rare tumors present several challenges, including lack of evidence based treatment recommendations, unwillingness of insurance companies to support unproven therapies, and keen competition for translational research support that may benefit only a small proportion of all cancer patients. Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) targeted in this proposal are rare tumors that face all of these challenges. NETs arise from the diffuse neuroendocrine system, occur in both adults and children, and are increasing in both incidence and prevalence in the United States. The University of Iowa is one of only a handful of academic or private institutions in the US where patients with NETs are diagnosed, treated, and regularly followed in a comprehensive manner. A multi-disciplinary NET clinic, an IRB approved registry and database, and a growing translational research program are housed at the University of Iowa. We have collaborated with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, patient support groups, and other research institutions whose expertise complements our clinical and translational expertise, to build a neuroendocrine tumor Center of Excellence. Iowa is poised to house the first SPORE in neuroendocrine tumors where academic, industry, and philanthropic organizations will partner with NCI to increase the length and quality of life for these unique patients. Our Overall Specific Aims are: 1. Support innovative translational research in Neuroendocrine Tumors. 2. Provide support to translational investigators through interactive cores. 3. Enlist and encourage new translational researchers in neuroendocrine tumors through developmental projects and career development. 4. Promote early and accurate diagnosis through outreach to physicians and advocacy groups.
Neuroendocrine tumors are slow growing, well-differentiated, yet relentlessly progressing malignancies that demonstrate near complete resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. A Neuroendocrine Tumor SPORE at the University of Iowa will result in advances that have an extraordinarily large clinical impact on the length and quality of life fo a rapidly growing population of patients with neuroendocrine tumors.
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