There has been an explosion in molecular biology together with the sequencing of the human genome, development of increasingly complex bioinformatics techniques, translation of laboratory discoveries to targeting anti-neoplastic therapies and advances in multi-modality therapies. To accelerate such progress, it is essential to have scientifically rigorous, highly integrated, multidisciplinary training programs in the key areas outlined by the National Cancer Institute (NCI): cancer biology, cancer prevention and control, cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. This training grant will advance the mission of personalized medicine to individualize understanding of disease pathogenesis, treatment and outcomes for the next generation of academic pediatric hematologists/oncologists. The goal of the proposed training program is to establish a unique interdisciplinary program that leverages the strengths of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and our current fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Our objective is to prepare trainees to become successful independently-funded scientific investigators in basic, translational, clinical population-based cancer research. All eligible trainees will have already obtained an M.D. degree as well as completed residency training in pediatrics or combined medicine/pediatrics. It is anticipated that two new trainees per year will participate in the training program, which consists of three years of training, of which funding for Years 2 and 3 will be supported from funds from this T32 grant. The available programs of research include research in Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention and Control, Host-Tumor Interactions, Signal Transduction and Cell Proliferation, Genome Maintenance, Gastrointestinal, Thoracic and Head &Neck and Breast Cancer. In addition, trainees have the opportunity to work with scientists in the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Surgery, Biochemistry, Psychology, Chemistry, Physics, Pathology, Radiation Oncology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Physiology, Pharmacology, Neurology, and Immunology. There are two defined training pathways under which these research opportunities fall: 1) Basic and Translational Research and, 2) Clinical and Population Based Research. The Basic and Translational Research Science Pathway will focus on three main thematic areas: genomic sciences, chemical biology and proteomics and translational medicine with animal models and will provide the trainee with an intensive mentored research experience that focuses on discovery in the laboratory and the translation of laboratory discoveries to targeted anti-neoplastic therapies. The Clinical and Population-Based Science Pathway is designed to provide the trainee with an intensive mentored research experience that focuses on cancer throughout the control continuum, including prevention, diagnosis and treatment, supportive care, survivorship and palliative care. Each of the pathways has programmatic goals with an over-riding emphasis to provide a deep research training experience through both didactic teaching and mentored research.
Advances in diagnosis, treatment and supportive care have led to significant improvement in outcome for the majority of children with cancer and blood disorders. To continue to accelerate such progress, it is essential to have scientifically rigorous, highly integrated, multi-disciplinary training programs focused on cancer biology, prevention and control, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, survivorship and palliative care. The goal of the proposed pediatric hematology/oncology training program is to establish such a training program that leverages the institutional strengths of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine and the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, where trainees will become successful independently-funded scientific investigators in basic, translational, clinical or population-based cancer research.
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