GI SPORE at the University of Kentucky
Awarded: Spring 2009
Amount: $1.5 million
SPORE Lead: B. Mark Evers, MD
The University of Kentucky's Markey Cancer Center is one of six cancer centers in the nation to be awarded a SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) grant in gastrointestinal cancers by the National Cancer Institute. Gastrointestinal cancers include tumors of the liver, colon, rectum, esophagus, stomach, and pancreas (among others) and represent the second leading cause of cancer death nationwide.
Projects on the UK SPORE focus on colon and liver cancer and are supported by three Cores: Biostatistics, Tissue Procurement and Analysis, and Administrative.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. When localized to the mucosa and submucosa of the bowel wall (Stage I), the five year survival approaches 100%; however, metastasis to lymph nodes (Stage III) results in a precipitous decrease in five year survival and systemic metastasis to the liver (ie, Stage IV) is associated with a five year survival that is less than 5%. The goal of one SPORE project is to develop more selected therapies for colorectal cancer progression and metastasis based on a systematic analysis of colorectal cancers, tumor stroma and surrounding mucosa for expression of certain components associated with the growth and progression of colorectal cancer.
Liver cancer is one of the most rapidly increasing types of cancers in the United States, reflecting an increased prevalence and risk of liver cancer in persons with chronic hepatitis C. Another SPORE project seeks a better understanding of the interaction of hepatitis C virus (HCV) proteins with important regulators of cell proliferation and the role of such interactions in liver cancer caused by HCV infection.
Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) are funded through specialized center grants (P50s) that promote interdisciplinary research and move basic research findings from the laboratory to clinical settings, involving both cancer patients and populations at risk of cancer. The outcome of interdisciplinary research is a bidirectional approach to translational research, moving laboratory discoveries to clinical settings or clinical observations to the laboratory environment.
Laboratory and clinical scientists share the common goal of bringing novel ideas to clinical care settings that have the potential to reduce cancer incidence and mortality as well as improve survival and the quality of life. In order to achieve these goals, SPORE investigators work collaboratively to plan, design and implement research programs that may impact cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment.