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Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy

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PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT The objectives of the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy are to (1) form a self-sustaining multidisciplinary research center within the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to increase the understanding of mechanisms of side effects of cancer therapy, identify methods for early detection, and develop strategies to prevent or treat such side effects and (2) help junior investigators with research programs in this common theme establish themselves as independent scientists. Achieving these goals will create a vibrant, multidisciplinary yet synergistic research environment. To our knowledge, few research centers focus on cancer survivorship, and none take the paradigm-shifting approach of proactively addressing treatment-related toxicities to improve overall cancer treatment outcomes. Specifically, this Center will provide an environment for young investigators to succeed as independent scientists (Aim 1); strengthen the overall research infrastructure at UAMS and the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute (Aim 2); and ensure that the Center becomes self- sustaining (Aim 3). All 6 project leaders recruited to the Center in Phase 1 have built well-funded, productive research programs and close collaborations with each other and several of the pilot project grantees. In preparation for Phase 2, we have recruited 4 promising new/early-stage independent investigators. During Phase 1, the Center focused heavily on radiation therapy. To increase the impact and scope of the Center while retaining its overall theme, project leaders recruited for Phase 2 have a research focus on both radiation and chemotherapy. To increase the likelihood that project leaders will successfully secure independent extramural research funding, individualized mentoring and faculty-development plans will be implemented, and support from an administrative core and 2 research service cores will be integral. To replace project leaders who achieve independence and graduate from COBRE support, a pipeline of new project leaders is ensured through institutional support for recruiting junior faculty combined with a structured pilot project program. Strengthening our interactions with the 5 other COBRE Centers and additional NIH-supported programs that enhance biomedical research on the UAMS and affiliated campuses will also contribute to establishing the Center as a self-sustaining research program that is well-integrated in the institution. The Center's progress will be guided by highly qualified External and Internal Advisory Committees. Strong institutional support combined with active interest from funding agencies in improving uncomplicated cancer cure rates and the quality of life of cancer survivors ensures a high likelihood of success for the Center for Studies of Host Response to Cancer Therapy.

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