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GI SPORE over the years

November 7, 2022

Major Players

Daniel Beauchamp, MD, the John Clinton Foshee Distinguished Professor of Surgery, and Ethan Lee, MD, PhD, professor of Cell & Developmental Biology and Pharmacology: high-throughput screening to identify drug-like molecules, targeting the TGF-beta and WNT pathways 

Jordan Berlin, MD, co-director of the GI SPORE, interim director of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, VICC associate director for Clinical Research and director of the phase 1 program, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research: leading clinical trials including those that combine EGFR, glutamine and COX-2 inhibitors

Cathy Eng, MD, professor of Medicine, David H. Johnson Professor of Surgical and Medical Oncology, director of  the GI SPORE’s Developmental Research Program

Stephen Fesik, PhD, Orrin H. Ingram II Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Chemistry: cancer drug discovery using fragment-based methods and structure-based design

Ken Lau, PhD, associate professor of Cell & Developmental Biology and Surgery: computational approaches to high content data generated by single-cell technologies to understand epithelial tissue function and organization

Charles Manning, PhD, (now at MD Anderson) former director the GI SPORE’s Mouse and Human Molecular Imaging Core, and Kristen Ciombor, MD, MSCI, associate professor of Medicine: multimodal imaging; development of prognostic and predictive biomarkers

Lawrence Marnett, PhD, Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research, University Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, Professor of Pharmacology, Dean of Basic Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Richard Peek, MD, Mina Cobb Wallace Professor of Immunology, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, and current CEP director

Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, holder of the Brock Family Directorship in Career Development, former VICC director, and currently VUMC Executive Vice President for Research and Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD, the Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department, directed the SPORE’s Career Enhancement Program (CEP), which provides training, mentorship and collaborative interactions to advance the careers of exceptional scientists and physicians in GI cancer, and former CEP director

Albert Reynolds, PhD, professor of Pharmacology: elucidating the role of a colorectal cancer-associated protein, p120, which he discovered in 1989

Martha Shrubsole, PhD, research professor of Medicine (Epidemiology), co-principal investigator (with Coffey and Lau) of the Colorectal Molecular Atlas Project, part of the Human Tumor Atlas Network

Yu Shyr, PhD, Harold L. Moses Professor of Cancer Research, chair of the Department of Biostatistics, director of  the SPORE’s Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

William Tansey, PhD, Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Cell & Developmental Biology, co-leader of the VICC Genome Maintenance Research Program

Mary Kay Washington, MD, PhD, professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, director of  the SPORE’s Tissue Pathology and Cellular Analysis Core

Wei Zheng, MD, PhD, MPH, the Anne Potter Wilson Professor of Medicine and chief, Division of Epidemiology, director of  the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study to identify biological, genetic and lifestyle risk factors for developing polyps in participants undergoing colonoscopy

What is SPORE?

In 1992, the National Cancer Institute established the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE). Each SPORE focuses on a specific organ site, such as breast or lung cancer, or a group of highly related cancers, such as gastrointestinal cancers. SPOREs are designed to enable the rapid and efficient movement of basic scientific findings into clinical settings, as well as determine the biological basis for observations made in individuals with cancer or in populations at risk for cancer. Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center currently has two SPORE programs: the GI SPORE and Breast SPORE.

A Timeline

1992: The National Cancer Institute (NCI) establishes the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) initiative.

1995: Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center becomes an NCI-designated Cancer Center.

2002: Vanderbilt-Ingram receives its first SPORE grant for research of gastrointestinal cancers (GI) in the amount of $13 million.

2007: The NCI renews funding for the GI SPORE program in the amount of $11.8 million.

2012: The GI SPORE program receives a third renewal of funding for $11.5 million.

2017: The GI SPORE program receives bridge funding.

2019: The GI SPORE program receives a fourth renewal of funding for $11.6 million.