The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recently awarded Yale Cancer Center and Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven a Specialized Program of Research Excellence, or SPORE, grant worth $11 million. The Yale SPORE will launch a new research program in non–small cell lung cancer.
The new research program harnesses the strengths of academic cancer centers by bringing together experts in oncology, immunobiology, pharmacology, molecular biology, pathology, epidemiology, and addiction science to collaborate on projects.
“The only way to approach a problem as big as lung cancer is to have experts in basic, translational, and clinical research working on several fronts taking the research from the lab to the clinic and back again to develop even newer insights,” said principal investigator Roy S. Herbst, MD, the Ensign Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Medical Oncology Program at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, and Associate Director for the Translational Research Program at Yale Cancer Center. “This effort represents tremendous teamwork by investigators to combat this very common and all-too-fatal disease.”
“This is an exciting time to do cancer research in areas like immunotherapy,” said Lieping Chen, MD, the United Technologies Corporation Professor in Cancer Research and Codirector of the Cancer Immunology Program at Yale Cancer Center. “With this award from the NCI, we hope to make a big difference in treating and preventing lung cancer.”
The Yale SPORE will conduct projects in immunotherapy, precision medicine, drug development, and smoking cessation. Teams will also work to identify new translational research avenues and train young physician-researchers for careers in lung cancer. Frank J. Slack, PhD, Director of the Institute for RNA Medicine at the Cancer Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, will co-lead a project examining microRNAs as therapeutics for lung cancer. Dr. Slack was formerly on the faculty at Yale and retains a research affiliation.
Yale is 1 of 5 institutions in the country with a SPORE devoted to lung cancer and 1 of 13 institutions to house more than one SPORE. ■