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DF/HCC Nodal Awards announced

DF/HCC offers a multitude of funding opportunities to its members to encourage and enhance the collaborative spirit of research within the Harvard medical community. Nodal Awards were specifically designed to enhance or create new “nodal point” interactions between disease- and discipline-based DF/HCC research programs. The Cancer Center also has a particular interest in funding projects that focus on eliminating cancer disparities.

Nodal Awards are a maximum of $75,000 per year for two years ($150,000 in total direct costs), with full indirect costs. Two awards were announced in the last quarter:

Study to Test the Trice Advanced Cancer and End of Life Treatment Scale
PIs: Jennifer Temel, MD (MGH) (pictured), Holly Prigerson, PhD (DFCI), Kasisomayajula Viswanath, PhD (DFCI)

The Trice Advanced Cancer and End of Life Treatment (TACT) scale is designed to assess knowledge of end of life (EOL) care options, advance care planning, and common aggressive interventions at EOL among Black and White advanced cancer patients.

The goal of the project is to develop a brief inventory to assess knowledge of aggressive and palliative EOL care options, and to evaluate whether its use as an educational tool improves knowledge of EOL treatment options. Specific aims include: refinement and evaluation of the reliability and validity of the TACT scale; pilot determination of whether differences exist among Black and White cancer patients in knowledge of EOL care options, advanced care planning, and common aggressive interventions at EOL; and if the use of TACT as part of an educational intervention can improve knowledge of EOL care options.

The use of histone-deacetylase inhibitors in NUT midline carcinoma
PI: Christopher French, MD (BWH) (pictured)
Collaborator: James Bradner, MD (DFCI)

NUT midline carcinoma (NMC) is a rare, incurable tumor affecting children and young adults. The French laboratory has characterized the causative oncogene as a fusion of a bromodomain gene and the novel gene, NUT, and hypothesize that the BRD-NUT complex is a tractable, direct target of HDAC inhibitors.

Specific aims for the project are to quantitate phenotypic effects of HDAC inhibitors on human NMC cells in a high-throughput format; establish lead therapeutic HDAC inhibitors based on their pro-differentiation and anti-growth effects on NMC in vitro and in vivo; and characterize the changes in gene expression resulting from HDAC inhibition in NMC cells.