$13 million grant to fund research into molecular targets for colorectal cancer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 16, 2002) A team of Vanderbilt investigators has been awarded a highly competitive, $13 million Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) grant to fund an interdisciplinary program focused on colorectal cancer, the second leading cancer killer.

The National Cancer Institute SPORE in GI Cancer grant is the second SPORE to be funded at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which received a SPORE in Lung Cancer last year. The GI SPORE involves the Gastroenterology Programs in the departments of Medicine, Surgery, Cancer Biology and Radiation Oncology.

The National Cancer Institute established SPOREs ten years ago to promote interdisciplinary research into specific cancer types that focuses on projects with a "translational" emphasis; that is, work that spans the gap from basic laboratory discovery to clinical application. Nationwide, 33 SPOREs for breast, GI, genitourinary, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers are active at 23 institutions. Vanderbilt-Ingram, which received a SPORE in Lung Cancer last year, now joins only six other cancer centers to have more than one active SPORE grant. "Were very excited about our SPORE in GI Cancer," said Dr. Robert J. Coffey Jr., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology, and director of the new SPORE. "Up till now, there have only been two SPOREs in GI cancers, none of which have focused exclusively on colorectal cancer."

Nearly 150,000 cases of colorectal cancer are expected to be diagnosed this year, according to the American Cancer Society, and because risk increases after age 50, incidence is expected to climb in coming years as the Baby Boom generation ages. More than 46,000 deaths are expected from colorectal cancer, making it the second leading cancer killer in both men and women.

The GI SPORE will provide $2.75 million each year for five years beginning June 1. The funding will support five research projects,

Contact: Cynthia Manley
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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