The faculty of two institutions, Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), are requesting funds to support a collaborative training program in research in the area of cancer pharmacology. The collaboration consists of an integrated set of training activities for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows. The strength and diversity of the 16 faculty provide opportunities for research in a variety of different areas, such as the development of new cancer therapeutic agents (e.g. through organic synthesis, monoclonal antibody technology, differentiation therapy, and the screening of new compounds), and the analysis of molecular mechanisms by which drugs act on cancer cells. Additionally, research concerning the mechanisms by which dioxin and environmental pollutants cause cancer is a part of the training program. Training program faculty research includes basic, mechanistic studies of the molecular actions of drugs used in cancer treatment and prevention, and research leading to more clinical endpoints. The graduate Ph.D. program consists of course work and three laboratory rotations, followed by an admission to candidacy exam and thesis research. A graduate course in Cancer Pharmacology is part of this program and represents a commitment of the faculty to the training of students in this area. Students and fellows present their research at the annual two-day Pharmacology Program retreat. Postdoctoral fellows attend a weekly journal club, take courses in cancer pharmacology, and present a formal seminar in the cancer pharmacology seminar series. It is expected that this training program will provide students and fellows with a broader understanding of the interrelationships between research on the basic mechanisms of drug action and drug development and clinical issues so that both clinicians and basic scientists will be better prepared to carry out research to prevent or treat cancer. Our request for continued NIH support of a training program in Cancer Pharmacology builds on major commitments of the participating institutions to the enhancement of research in this area. The faculty of this training program are members of the joint WCMC/SKI graduate program, with a total of 31 Pharmacology Ph.D. Program faculty. Thus, this faculty represents a cohesive, interactive group with a common interest in research and training in the area of cancer pharmacology.
This Training program is unusual in several respects. First, this is one of the few training programs focused specifically on cancer pharmacology. Second, this training program features cancer research training in molecular pharmacology, animal models of cancer, and human clinical trials research. Many of the faculty are physician-scientists who treat patients as well as perform research. Third, this group of faculty is very collaborative. All of these features make this program extremely relevant and useful for training the next generation of cancer pharmacology researchers.
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