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Vol. 3, No. 7                                                                                                          April 8, 2020

Cancer Institute Member Spotlight

Mauricio Moreno, M.D.
Associate Professor
Vice-Chair for Adult Services
Director, Head and Neck Division
Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Dr. Moreno’s research is focused on utilizing optical spectrometry to identify tumor response to radiation and improving clinical outcomes for patients who need surgical treatment. Read more>
Cancer Institute Research Programs
DNA Damage and Host Response
Program Leader: Marjan Boerma, Ph.D.

This is the second of a four-part series highlighting the Cancer Institute research programs and opportunities for inter- and intraprogrammatic collaborations. The Cancer Institute research programs provide a collaborative environment for the conceptualization and conduct of basic, translational and clinical cancer-focused research. Co-leader positions are available for some of the programs.

The DNA Damage and Host Response program studies DNA repair and genomic instability in cancer and normal tissues, as well as various biological mechanisms of and new interventions in adverse effects of cancer therapy. In particular, investigators are interested in genomic modifications involved in oncogenesis, resistance to therapy, and biological mechanisms such as inflammation and oxidative stress that contribute to short- and long-term sequelae of radiation and chemotherapy. The long-term goal of the program is to improve cancer treatment outcomes as well as quality of life of cancer patients and survivors.

Marjan Boerma, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAMS College of Pharmacy Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Division of Radiation Health, serves as program leader.

The program’s two components -- DNA damage and host response – go hand in hand, Boerma said.

“Under the umbrella of host response falls any type of research that examines how normal or non-cancerous cells and tissues are affected by treatment, whether it be chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immune modulation or any other type of therapy,” she said.

Therapy-induced injuries in non-cancerous cells and tissues often leads to side effects, which can range from mild to severe. The response also can change the microenvironment in which the tumor is growing.

“By studying the response of normal tissue, we hope to develop methods to modify tumors by modifying the environment surrounding them. In addition, this research will also help us better understand how to reduce side effects, which will make therapy safer and more tolerable,” Boerma said.

The program’s second component examines DNA damage and repair. Understanding how these processes operate in both cancer cells and normal cells is an ideal pairing with the study of host response.

“Since DNA damage is at the basis of the tumor and normal tissue response to many cancer therapies, DNA damage and host response really do go hand in hand in my mind,” Boerma said.

In the short term, Boerma hopes that program members take the opportunity get to know each other, build new collaborations and continue existing collaborations.

“By working together, we will strengthen our program as a whole,” she said.

Long-term goals include securing new extramural funding, both for individual program members and collaborative groups. This includes groups within the DNA Damage and Host Response program and with members of the Cancer Institute’s other research programs.

“Funding is, of course, essential to our research. By working together, our projects will grow and our ability to attain funding will increase along with it,” she said.
The Cancer Letter Offers Information on
COVID-19 and the Cancer Community
The Cancer Letter contains extensive information about COVID-19 and the cancer community. The Cancer Institute has an institutional subscription to The Cancer Letter, which is an independent weekly newsletter.

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NIH Central COVID-19 Policy Update
Researchers are invited to visit the NIH's Central COVID-19 Policy Update. This page contains information for NIH applicants and recipients of NIH funding, along with guidance and funding opportunities.
Musical Tribute to Health Care Workers
With this performance of Ravel’s “Boléro,” musicians of the New York Philharmonic send a message of gratitude to the health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Cancer-related Research Funding Opportunities

Extramural Opportunities

National Cancer Institute Program Project Applications (P01 Clinical Trial Optional)

Toward Translation of Nanotechnology Cancer Interventions (TTNCI) (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

NIH Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Use of Biological "High" or "Medium" Priority AIDS Research on Non-AIDS-defining or AIDS-defining Cancers

Notice of Special Interest: Administrative Supplement Opportunity to Stimulate or Strengthen Global Cancer Health Disparities Research (NOT-CA-20-032)
Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Availability of Administrative Supplements for Research in Geographically Underserved Areas

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Administrative Supplements to Support Collaborations with the NCI-supported Drug Resistance and Sensitivity Network (DRSN)

Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Dissemination and Implementation Science for Cancer Prevention and Control in Low Resource Environments

Development of Innovative Informatics Methods and Algorithms for Cancer Research and Management (R21 Clinical Trial Optional)

Early-Stage Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U01 Clinical Trial Optional)

Advanced Development of Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U24 Clinical Trial Optional)

Sustained Support for Informatics Technologies for Cancer Research and Management (U24 Clinical Trial Optional)

Revision Applications to Support the Application of Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (R01 Clinical Trials Optional)

Revision Applications to Support the Application of Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (U01 Clinical Trials Optional)

Revision Applications to Support the Application of Informatics Technology for Cancer Research (U24 Clinical Trials Optional)

Foundation Opportunity

The Mark Foundation Emerging Leader Award
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