Flinn Scholars News

Arizona Cancer Center awarded $12 million federal grant

Compiled from media reports

Summary:

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Arizona Cancer Center a $12 million grant to continue a program of interdisciplinary research on gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. The University of Arizona is one of only five sites nationwide to receive funding under the GI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) initiative.

Full Story:

Gerner_-news_individual

Eugene Gerner, director of
Arizona Cancer Center
GI SPORE.
Photo courtesy of UA.

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Arizona Cancer Center a $12 million grant to continue a program of interdisciplinary research on gastrointestinal (GI) cancer. The University of Arizona is one of only five sites nationwide to receive funding under the GI Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) initiative.

The grant, a renewal of an award first made in 2002, will allow Arizona Cancer Center researchers to continue investigating four types of cancer—colon, rectal, esophageal, and pancreatic—through bidirectional translational research, which seeks clinical applications for laboratory discoveries and turns clinical observations into new laboratory inquiries. GI cancers account for 20 percent of cancer deaths in the U.S., and colorectal cancers are the second leading cause of overall cancer deaths.

The SPORE initiatives, begun by the NCI in 1992, target 14 areas of cancer research at a total of 62 sites nationwide; UA is Arizona's only SPORE site. All sites focus on interdisciplinary research that is highly collaborative, involving scientists from other SPOREs, other federally funded research programs, and partnerships with industry and non-profit organizations.

The Arizona Cancer Center GI SPORE, directed by Eugene W. Gerner, has established important relationships with researchers at UA's Health Sciences Center and BIO5 Institute. Other collaborators are from the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center in Scottsdale, the University of California-Irvine's Chao Family Cancer Center, and the University of Texas' MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In its first five years, the SPORE has yielded:

  • The discovery of two new cancer drugs and completion of a Phase I clinical trial for one of them.
  • Identification of a genetic marker for individuals likely to benefit from the colon polyp preventive action of aspirin.
  • A first-of-its-kind study to identify markers that predict which patients with Barrett's esophagus—the precursor to a form of esophageal cancer—will develop that cancer.
  • A collaborative study involving the UA Health Sciences Center, exploring the relationship between arsenic and cancer in southern Arizona and northern Mexico.
  • Discovery of long-term neurological effects of cancer treatment in survivors.
  • $9 million in new grants, generated from $1.5 million in SPORE funding for developmental research.
  • 138 publications in national scientific journals.
  • Five patents.

For more information:

"Arizona Cancer Center receives $12 million grant," Tucson Citizen, 11/16/2007

UA media release