Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Hematology/Oncology




National Cancer Institute (NIH-NCI) Funding

The Division of Hematology/Oncology has maintained a strong commitment to research. This investment has been rewarded with success in receiving both grant funding and clinical research opportunities.  

Our faculty have recently received the following high-profile grants and awards from the National Cancer Institute (NCI):

P30 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. Under the leadership of Dr. Nancy Davidson, Center Director, Dr. Edward Chu, Deputy Director, and Dr. Adam Brufsky, Associate Director of Clinical Science, the UPCI is one of 69 NCI-designated cancer centers and one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers in the U.S. Of note, UPCI is the only NCI-designated cancer center in Western Pennsylvania. These Cancer Centers of Excellence are recognized by the NCI for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of cancer research in basic, clinical, and/or population science. A large number of Division faculty play important roles in this P30 grant, including:

P50 NCI Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs). The NCI Translational Research Program is the home of the SPOREs, which together form the cornerstone of NCI’s efforts to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research. SPORE grants involve both basic and clinical/translational science, and the goal of the projects is to develop new and diverse approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of human cancers. Each SPORE grant focuses on a specific organ site or a group of highly related cancers, and the awards are designed to enable the rapid and efficient movement of basic science findings into clinical settings. Our Division is actively involved in three of the NCI SPOREs:

NCI-ETCTN UM1 Phase I Program. For more than 40 years, NCI has supported a clinical trials infrastructure program to conduct early-phase clinical trials across the US. In 2013, the NCI’s experimental therapeutics clinical trials program was transformed from a series of separate institutions conducting early phase clinical trials to a consolidated, integrated program referred to as the NCI Experimental Therapeutics Clinical Trials Network (ETCTN). UPCI has been involved in the NCI Phase I Early Drug Development Program since 1999. In March 2013, UPCI was awarded an NCI UM1 Phase I grant as a Lead Academic Organization (LAO) within the newly configured NCI ETCTN. Of note, our Phase I program here in Pittsburgh is one of only 12 LAO centers in the U.S. and the only one in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This Phase I grant is under the leadership of Dr. Edward Chu, with several additional Division faculty participants:

NCI-ETCTN Phase II Program. We are only one of nine centers in the nation awarded an NCI grant to support the conduct of Phase II clinical trials. For this effort, UPCI has formed a partnership with the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC) at the University of Pennsylvania to establish the Pennsylvania Cancer Consortium (PCC), a collaboration between the two largest NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The goal of this award is to conduct Phase II clinical trials of novel agents and/or combination regimens while incorporating translational correlative science. Dr. Weijing Sun serves as the PI of the Phase II Team Operations and leader of the UPCI Phase II program and Dr. Ahmad Tarhini, the Director of Clinical Science. The Phase II clinical trials will be conducted in solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. Several Division members serve on the disease site leadership team for this consortium, including:

NCI-NCTN Clinical Research Program. UPCI is one of 30 U.S. academic institutions that have been selected to receive a Lead Academic Participating Site (LAPS) grant, a source of funding created especially for the NCI National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). The goal of this grant is to enroll high numbers of patients into Phase III NCTN clinical trials, as well as for Centers to provide scientific leadership in the design and conduct of clinical trials. Dr. Adam Brufsky serves as the PI of this NCI grant, and is joined by several Division faculty members, including: