Duke Secures $1.4m NIH R38 Grant for RadOnc & Radiology Residents

Duke Secures $1.4m NIH R38 Grant for RadOnc & Radiology Residents

The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health has awarded a $1.4 million R38 grant to support research by Duke Radiation Oncology and Radiology resident-investigators. The Duke Radiation Oncology and Radiology Simulating Access to Research in Residency (Duke ROR StARR) will commence supporting resident investigators by July 2020. Each resident-investigator will complete 12 to 24 months of in-depth mentored research in cancer biology, radiation biology, imaging, or medical physics. Each one will receive $20,000 for research expenses plus funding to travel to a scientific meeting.

In what has been referred to as “unprecedented,” Duke now houses four R38 programs representing 8 out of 16 clinical departments, reports Julie Poucher Harbin, staff writer with Duke Cancer Institute.

Forefront of Imaging and Treatment of Cancer

This funding offers resident-investigators to select from preceptors whose research is at the forefront in the imaging and treatment of cancer, such as those affiliated with the Duke University School of Medicine Departments of Radiation Oncology, Radiology, Pathology, Medicine, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at the Duke University Pratt School of Engineering Department of Biomedical Engineering.

The Principal Investigator Comments

David Kirsch, MD, PhD, vice chair for Basic & Translational Research, Department of Radiation Oncology and co-Leader of the Radiation Oncology and Imaging research program at the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), spearheads the initiative as principal investigator for the R38 grant. Dr. Kirsch notes, “This grant will give residents in Radiation Oncology and Radiology the opportunity to position themselves for a future career translating discoveries from the lab to better treatments and improved outcomes for cancer patients.”

Kirsch leads a team of investigators whose research spans basic science, translational research, and the clinical trials continuum. Duke Cancer Institute staff writer Ms. Poucher Harbin reports his clinical interests are the multi-modality care of patients with bone and soft tissue sarcomas and developing new sarcoma therapies. In his lab, the Kirsch Lab, he utilizes mouse models to study cancer and radiation biology in order to develop new cancer therapies in the pre-clinical setting.

Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute is a NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, research facility and hospital that is part of the Duke University School of Medicine and Duke University Health System in Durham, North Carolina. A collaborative powerhouse—audacious, evolving, unconventional—at the center of a world-renowned university and medical center. A major proponent of synchronous collaboration, the institution and its members commit to developing breakthroughs that transform the unimagined into the possible.

The center specializes in the treatment and prevention of cancer and consistently ranks high up in national cancer hospital rankings. Over 50,000 patients are seen here per year. The Duke Cancer Institute was initiated in 2010. The Duke Cancer Institute is a first of its kind at Duke—a single entity that integrates and aligns patient care and basic and clinical research with the goals of improving patient outcomes, decreasing the burden of cancer and accelerating clinical research.

Lead Research/Investigators

David Kirsch, MD, PhD, vice chair for Basic & Translational Research in the Department of Radiation Oncology and co-Leader of the Radiation Oncology and Imaging research program at Duke Cancer Institute (DCI), Principal investigator/Program Director R38 grant

Joseph Lo, PhD (vice chair for Research in the Department of Radiology and Study Program Director for Radiology, Radiation Oncology, and Medical Physics

Scott Floyd, MD, PhD, radiation oncologist, Gary Hock and Lyn Proctor Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology, director of the Floyd Lab, and associate radiation director of the Duke Center for Brain and Spine Metastasis at DCI