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Vol. 2, No. 14                                                                                                                July 10, 2019

Cancer Institute Member Spotlight

Igor Koturbash, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor and Vice Chair
   Department of Environmental and Occupational Health
   Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
Co-Director, Center for Dietary Supplements Research
The major focus of Dr. Koturbash's research is safety, efficacy and mechanisms of action of dietary supplements and understanding how diet and dietary supplements can modulate tissue response to cancer therapy. Read more>
What is NCI Designation?
Part V: Data, Data and More Data
Applying for NCI Designation begins with submitting the Cancer Center Support Grant  (CCSG) P30 grant. The detailed instructions for writing the grant are found in the P30 CCSG program announcement (PAR).

Embedded within this PAR is a link to the funding sources that NCI considers to be peer-reviewed and thus will count toward the minimum amount of cancer research funding that a cancer center must have to apply for NCI Designation.

Also embedded within the PAR is a link to the CCSG Data Guide. Altogether, these bits of instructions make up what is referred to as the CCSG Guidelines. The CCSG Guidelines change every few years; sometimes they change a lot, sometimes they change a little. However, changes are always considered with input from NCI-Designated cancer centers and the NCI. The next set of guidelines is expected to be released in January 2020.

While much of what we’ve discussed thus far in the Breakthrough NCI Designation series has focused on the PAR content, the data required through the Data Guide is just as essential to the application.

The CCSG requires the submission of five data tables and sub-tables:
  • Data Table 1 is used to provide a quick snapshot of the cancer center to reviewers.
    • DT 1A defines much of the senior leadership of the cancer center. The cancer center director and associate directors are included in this table.
    • DT 1B defines the research programs and their leadership within the cancer center.
    • DT 1C defines the shared resources and their leadership within the cancer center.
  • Data Table 2 focuses on grant data. This is the trickiest data table to compile and keep current. It represents a snapshot into current grant data and quickly informs reviewers if the cancer center has enough NCI and other cancer research funding to apply for NCI Designation. 
    • DT 2A is a detailed listing of all cancer-related grants held by members of the cancer center. These data are broken up into a table of peer-reviewed grants (those that count toward the funding baseline) and a table of non-peer reviewed grants. NCI cares most about peer-reviewed grants and the amount of cancer relevance of each of these grants.
    • DT 2B is a roll-up summary of the grant data in DT 2A. It quickly shows how much of the cancer center’s funding comes from NCI, other NIH institutes, other funding organizations deemed to be peer-reviewed by NCI, non-peer-reviewed funding organizations, and pharmaceutical or biotech industry companies. 
  • Data Table 3 comes from the institution’s tumor registry and shows the number of new cancer cases diagnosed at that institution within a calendar year.
  • Data Table 4 is easily the second most difficult data table to complete. It details cancer clinical trials and enrollments within a calendar year period. A lot of detail is required for each clinical trial, but these trials are generally defined by the following:
    • Clinical research category. These options include interventional, observational, and ancillary or correlative trials. Reviewers want to see a broad portfolio of all types of clinical research, but critical attention has historically been focused on interventional trials. 
    • Study source. These options include national NCI- or NIH-supported clinical trial networks, externally peer-reviewed trials such as those funded by an NCI or NIH grant, institutional trials initiated and led by cancer center members, and industry-sponsored trials. The NCI places the greatest value on externally peer-reviewed trials, followed by engagement in NCI clinical trial networks. Industry-sponsored trials, while a necessary part of the portfoloio, are considered the least valuable in a P30 CCSG application.
  • Data Table 5 is the current budget for the cancer center and its proposed budget for the P30 CCSG application.
In addition to these data tables, reviewers expect to see other data lists or tables scattered throughout the application. These include publication data, training grant and training program data, protocol review and monitoring committee data, shared resource use data, and many other bits of information that demonstrate productivity of the cancer center and efficient use of resources. 

Cobbling together all of this data is no small task. All NCI-Designated cancer centers have either bought or developed in-house sophisticated data reporting systems to automate as much of this data capture and compilation as possible. In a subsequent story in this NCI Designation series, we’ll highlight the cutting-edge homegrown system that UAMS Research IT has developed with the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute to meet all of NCI’s reporting requirements to attain and maintain NCI Designation. 
NIH Awards Five-Year, $24.2 Million Grant to UAMS Translational Research Institute
The UAMS Translational Research Institute reached a huge milestone last week, receiving $24.2 million for renewal of their CTSA grant. The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute partners closely with the TRI on research initiatives, efficient use of resources, and support of researchers and research administration staff. The Cancer Institute is proud to congratulate Dr. Laura James (pictured at podium) and her team of faculty and staff in their great accomplishment that will move translational research forward across the UAMS campus and throughout the state of Arkansas. Read more>

Honors and Achievements
A paper authored by Brian Walker, Ph.D., and titled “Microhomology-Mediated End Joining Drives Complex Rearrangements And Over Expression Of MYC And PVT1 In Multiple Myeloma” was published in the June 19 issue of Haematologica.
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