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Multidisciplinary Approaches to Tumor Immunology

Kelvin P. Lee

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National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The goal of Tumor Immunology Training Program (TITP) is to prepare predoctoral students for a career in the application of immunological approaches to the understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. With the recent breakthroughs in understanding the significant role of endogenous anti-tumor immunity in cancer patients, preventive anti-cancer vaccines (e.g. the anti-HPV vaccine Gardasil(r)), and clinically effective immunotherapy (e.g. the prostate cancer vaccine Provenge(r), the immunomodulator ipilimumab in melanoma, and genetically engineered T cells in chronic lymphocytic leukemia), future scientific leaders in tumor immunology must not only be well-trained immunologists - they must also have a solid foundation in understanding how basic immunological concepts apply to the clinical arena of human beings with cancers. Toward this end, the unique, cancer-focused program of the TITP provides trainees with an advanced broad-based tumor immunology education that stresses the importance of training that spans the continuum from basic?translational?clinical research. The uniqueness of this training program is further augmented by the integration of an academic program comprised of diverse faculty within the setting of a world-renowned, NCI- designated, Comprehensive Cancer Center. Trainees are exposed to a broad perspective of cancer-related issues including cancer incidence and survival, the spectrum of scientific approaches to cancer, and the realities of patient care. Furthermore, the training experience TITP students receive is augmented by the close proximity of Roswell Park Cancer Institute to the University at Buffalo. The primary mission of the proposed training grant is to support students during their third and fourth year ofgraduate study. The funds requested in this renewal application cover stipends and tuition costs for 4 predoctoral students per year. This funding is crucial to continuing the upward trajectory experienced over 11 years of NRSA training grant support in the quality and diversity of predoctoral trainees focused on complex immunological questions in cancer. NRSA- supported trainees are prepared for a competitive research career through didactic courses in cancer biology and tumor immunology as well as in grantsmanship, scientific writing, and ethical conduct of research Degree conferral is dependent on preparation of a research proposal, as part of the preliminary examination requirement, and publication of a first-authored report of original findings. Students who successfully complete this training program will be well versed in all aspects of tumor immunology and will have the solid foundation upon which to build cancer-focused research efforts, guided by a clear vision of the impact on human cancers.

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