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Developmental Research Program

The Weill Cornell Medicine SPORE in Prostate Cancer Developmental Research Program (DRP) acknowledges that to achieve the over-arching goal of impacting patient care, the SPORE must develop and maintain a highly productive translational research program. The DRP provides a mechanism for soliciting new research ideas and developing innovative high-risk/high-impact projects to stimulate prostate cancer research in the context of the SPORE. The DRP is co-led by Drs. David Nanus and Paraskevi Giannakakou who have extensive experience in mentoring at every academic level and significant involvement in critical cancer-related organizations that include the AACR, the PCF, and the NCI.

The objectives of the Developmental Research Program are:

  1. to identify and provide funding for innovative research projects in PCa, each with the potential to evolve into translational/clinical studies with meaningful human endpoints;
  2. to provide funding to high-quality projects that complement and enhance the overall goals of the SPORE;
  3. to ensure there is a sustained stream of innovative translational research projects within the SPORE; and
  4. to develop a mechanism to identify and promote outstanding work from investigators at our Tri-institutional Campus, who may or may not have prior expertise in PCa research.

Specific Aims:

AIM 1: Identify promising areas of prostate cancer related translational research that may directly impact clinical practice, and solicit high-quality applications by publicizing across the Tri-Institutional campus the availability of pilot funding for translational prostate cancer research;

AIM 2: Select research projects worthy of funding using internal and external reviewers and based on specific criteria.  Final selection to be made by the SPORE Executive Committee chaired by the Co-Directors of the DRP;

AIM 3: Evaluate research project’s progress and accomplishments, including the possibility of transitioning to a full SPORE Project. A program designed in which promising pilot projects follow one of three courses: funding for another year, elevation to a full SPORE project, or encouragement to apply for research support outside of the SPORE mechanism (NIH, DOD, PCF, etc.);

AIM 4: Evaluate the DRP program and work with the DRP investigators and the SPORE to assist them in achieving their translational research goals, including yearly evaluation of all DRP project progress reports.

2020 Awardees:

Dr. Melissa Davis
DARC side of Prostate Cancer Immune Responses and Disparitites

Drs. Maria Diaz-Meco & Jorge Moscat
Therapeutic Targeting the Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer Stroma

Dr. Edward Fung
Impact of High Linear Energy Transfer Radiation on Host Immune Response to Augment Immunotherapy

Past Awardees:

2019: Ekta Khurana, PhD

2019: John Babich, PhD

2019: Marcus Goncalves, MD, PhD

2019: Xin-Yin Huang, PhD

2018: Charles Drake, MD. PhD

2018: Pengbo Zhou, PhD

2018: Samie Jaffrey, MD, PhD 

2017: Ankur Singh, PhD

2017: Scott Tagawa, MD