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The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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SWOG/CSHL/JAX Collaboration: Opportunities, Means, and Models

Oct 17, 2014 - Ever since Dr. Baker reached out to build true, bidirectional partnerships with two basic science cancer centers a few years ago, SWOG and their leaders have worked to encourage interactions between our organizations, sparking collaboration and speeding up the process of translating scientific discovery from the lab to clinical testing and to eventual patient benefit.

Dr. Lee Ellis, SWOG Vice Chair for Translation Medicine, has expanded our efforts significantly. At our semi-annual live meeting in Chicago next week, we lay it all out for SWOG investigators interested in collaboration -- the available opportunities, the potential means, and even one successful model to learn from. Next Friday, a number of scientists from CSHL and JAX will paint us a more detailed picture of the work they're doing in their own labs, and how that work might inform or drive clinical research projects with SWOG investigators.

Following this "Collaborative Opportunities at CSHL and JAX Labs for SWOG Investigators" Symposium (12 - 1:30 pm, Oct 24), faculty from both labs are holding by-appointment office hours from 1:30 - 3:30, to allow for more in-depth discussions of collaboration opportunities. (Check at the onsite registration desk to learn whether any appointments are still available.)

The speakers and topics from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory are as follows:

  • Alea Mills, Ph.D.: CHD5 in epigenetic control of stem cells & cancer: From gene discovery to clinical trials
  • Raffaella Sordella, Ph.D.: Molecular mechanism of resistance to targeted therapies in lung cancer
  • Mariano Ponz Sarvise, M.D., Ph.D.: Organoids as a therapeutic platform

Jackson Laboratory will feature these three speakers and topics:

  • Leonard Shultz, Ph.D.: Next generation humanized mice for cancer research
  • Kyuson Yun, Ph.D.: Bridging the gap between in vivo models and cell culture: ex vivo tumor slices for testing therapy response
  • Kevin Mills, Ph.D.: Models to medicines: Targeting genomic instability in lymphoma and leukemia

Not content with merely demonstrating available opportunities, we also have a program that could provide the actual means to collaborate. The NIH-funded CSHL/JAX/SWOG Integrated Translational Science Center sponsors a grant program to fund exactly those lab/clinic collaborations. Pilot projects that promote the integration of ground-breaking basic research into clinical trials and that bring together a CSHL or JAX basic scientist as PI and a SWOG clinician as co-Investigator may be eligible for awards of up to $100,000 per year. Deputy Chair Anne Schott will say more about these ITSC Pilot Project grants as part of Thursday's Plenary I (TM) session.

Finally, Dr. Schott's talk will be followed by a progress report on one Hope-supported collaborative CSHL/SWOG project that's well underway. Mikala Egeblad, Ph.D., of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, will give us an update on a CSHL/SWOG project she leads, in collaboration with Dr. Schott, which uses mouse models to mirror the design of an ongoing clinical trial and test the drug regimens used in that study.

So bring your best translational medicine ideas to Chicago. We review of some of the fabulous lab projects underway at CSHL and JAX, we've got a grant program that may be appropriate to fund your collaborative project idea, and we've even got a description of one successful lab/clinic collaborative project. The pieces are all in place for you to pick up and run with!


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