Rutgers Cancer Institute, UW Carbone Cancer Center receive NCI grant

The $4.25 million grant will be used to develop more efficient clinical trials

Kelsey Kaustinen
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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.—Dr. Robert S. DiPaola, M.D., director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, has been awarded a $4.25 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health to support the development of precision experimental cancer therapeutics. DiPaola will be collaborating with researchers from the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center on this work.
“While NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers including Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey are making great strides individually with precision medicine research, collaborative efforts between such centers offer a synergy and access to resources that can further advance such exploration at a more rapid pace,” said DiPaola in a press release. “By working together with colleagues at UW Carbone Cancer Center, we have enhanced opportunities to develop new mechanisms by which to guide more tailored therapies for patients.”
“This grant and collaboration between Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the University of Wisconsin exemplifies the importance of building bridges within and beyond our university to advance our research,” added Brian L. Strom, M.D., MPH, chancellor of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. “I applaud the efforts of Dr. DiPaola and his team at the Cancer Institute.”
The two organizations have worked together in the past, as they have collaborated to jointly develop clinical trial protocols the NCI’s Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (CTEP) over the past five years. For this new work, they will seek to bolster scientific understanding and enable more trial opportunities to be offered through CTEP.
“The Wisconsin and New Jersey Alliance in Precision Experimental Therapeutics is a great example of team science, as each institution brings forth unique strengths and resources can be combined to meet the challenges and needs for the NCI’s Early Therapeutics - Clinical Trials Network,” commented Glenn Liu, M.D., of the UW Carbone Cancer Center, co-principal investigator on the grant with DiPaola.
The Cancer Institute and RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the world’s largest university-based biorepository, which is located within the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey at Rutgers University, also have an existing collaboration, which will provide access to cancer tissue samples for genomic analysis and sequencing. The grant will also support collaborations on imaging research with the Rutgers School of Engineering.
Once the trials have been designed and opened to patients, the Cancer Institute and UW Carbone Cancer Center team will monitor and evaluate the studies to enable further refinement. Work will also be done to develop management approaches that can streamline the clinical trial process for greater efficiency. The funding is expected to support their work over the next five years.
“Genomic analysis, identifying new biomarkers and other innovative advances in recent years have accelerated the pace of cancer discovery, thus making more information available than ever before,” said Howard L. Kaufman, M.D., FACS, the new associate director for Clinical Science at the Cancer Institute. “By combining both research and clinical strengths, investigators can maximize this data in designing clinical trials with novel approaches. This new grant will support our teams in doing just that.”
SOURCE: Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey

Kelsey Kaustinen

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