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Taking the initiative to promote translational research by embracing the collaboration of basic and clinical sciences with a goal of moving basic research discoveries from the laboratory to the clinical setting, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) inaugurated a funding mechanism called the Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPORE) in 1992. By providing this research funding, a SPORE will focus on bringing novel ideas that have the potential to reduce cancer incidence and mortality, to increase survival, and to improve quality of life. The hallmark of the SPORE is in the collaboration between laboratory and clinical scientists in planning, designing, and implementing research projects that impact cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, and control.

Each SPORE develops and maintains specialized resources, known as Cores, which benefit all of the scientists working at the Institute, in addition to the SPORE researchers. Career development is a vital element of the SPORE. Through the SPORE’s career development program, scientists are recruited from both within and outside of the SPORE institution to increase the translational research base. SPOREs meet annually to share data, assess research progress, identify new research opportunities, and establish priorities for research most likely to reduce incidence and mortality and to increase cancer survival. SPOREs are organized around solid tumor cancers involving specific organs. Currently, NCI funds SPOREs in breast, lung, myeloma, ovarian, prostate, renal, and skin.

SPORE Planning Oversight Committee

The SPORE Planning Oversight Committee, chaired by Bruce Chabner, MD, is comprised of highly experienced and dedicated faculty, including current SPORE PIs and senior leaders in basic, translational, clinical, and population sciences. The committee reviews all initial and renewal SPORE/P50 grant concepts, providing guidance during concept development and grant preparation.

If you are a DF/HCC member and beginning to plan a SPORE application or competitive renewal, please contact Deborah Goff, PhD.