ROI on Cancer Center’s Pilot Project Program Significant

The University of Illinois Cancer Center’s Pilot Project Program has historically delivered a significant return on investment for the institution and members who leverage their internally funded pilots into peer-reviewed grants.

This year, one to three projects will be funded for up to $50,000. The pilot grants are designed to stimulate new inter-programmatic research initiatives that lead to competitive grant applications to peer-reviewed funders such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and American Cancer Society (ACS).

Cancer Center members are invited to propose projects; letters of intent are due Thursday, Feb. 10.

Past recipients include Jonathan Coloff, PhD, assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and member of the Cancer Biology program; Andrei Gartel, PhD, associate professor of molecular genetics and Cancer Biology program member; and Irum Khan, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine and member of the Translational Oncology program.

Coloff received a pilot grant to determine the sensitivity of ER+ breast tumors to dietary serine and glycine restriction in vivo. His pilot project led to a new Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) R37 grant from the NCI to investigate serine removal to tackle luminal breast cancer. The initial five year $2.17 million award could be extended to seven years and more than $3 million.

Gartel and Khan collaborated to target FOXM1 in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Their project led to Gartel’s two-year, $528,000 grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Science to study how reducing the amount of FOXM1 in the nucleus of AML-M5 leukemic cells can improve the prognosis for patients with AML. Khan also received a $583,000 American Cancer Society grant to better understand new potential resistance mechanisms in AML.

The deadline for full applications is Monday, March 21. The earliest start date for the pilot projects, which are awarded for a one-year period, is May 1. For more information, contact Farah Mirza or learn more here.

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