NCI funds SPORE for liver and bile duct cancer research

Volume 8, Issue 1, March 2019

Summary

Four research projects address the urgent need to improve diagnosis and treatment of liver cancer.

Mark A. McNiven, Ph.D.

Mark A. McNiven, Ph.D.

Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D.

A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has been awarded a five-year, $11.5-million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant in hepatobiliary cancer.

Principal investigators for the new SPORE grant in hepatobiliary cancer include Mark A. McNiven, Ph.D., George M. Eisenberg Professor and a researcher at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota; and Lewis R. Roberts, M.B., Ch.B., Ph.D., Peter and Frances Georgeson Professor of Gastroenterology Cancer Research, and a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Collaborators include researchers from The Rockefeller University and the University of Pittsburgh.

"This is the only NCI-funded SPORE focused on cancers of the liver, which are the second-leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the most rapidly increasing cause of death from cancer in the U.S.," Dr. Roberts said. "This SPORE identifies Mayo Clinic as a premier center for the study, diagnosis and treatment of liver cancers."

Specialized Program of Research Excellence grants are designed to promote interdisciplinary research and help basic research findings move quickly from the laboratory to patient care. To earn these competitive grants, institutions must demonstrate a high degree of collaboration between top scientists and clinicians and show excellence in translational research projects.

Researchers participating in the SPORE are conducting four translational research projects in liver cancer. The SPORE funds are also being used to develop a world-class biorepository for liver cancer specimens and to create a statistical core to provide analyses on research projects and an administrative core to manage the projects.

"We hope to attract both young investigators and experienced investigators from other disease areas to join us in the field of liver cancer research," Dr. McNiven said.

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has five other current NCI SPORE grants: breast cancer, lymphoma (shared with the University of Iowa), multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer.

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