The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC) has awarded a $20,000 pilot grant to Rodney Taylor, M.D. M.S.P.H. This pilot grant is part of an American Cancer Society Institutional Research Grant (IRG) that contains designated funds for projects focused on cancer in poor or underserved populations.
Dr. Taylor is assistant professor of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a member of the cancer center's multidisciplinary Head and Neck Oncology team. His research will focus on the disparities in recurrence and survival rates of head and neck cancer among different ethnic, gender and geographic groups. Specifically, the study will explore the differences in EGFR over-expression and NK FcyR polymorphisms in African American and White populations as they affect survival rates and resonse to antibody mediated therapies.
Relationship Between Ethnic Differences In EGFR Over-Expression and NK Cell FcyR Polymorphisms and Clinical Outcomes for Patients with Squamous Cell Cancer of the Head and Neck
Squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) represent approximately 5% of all incident malignant tumors and accounts for nearly 40,000 new cancer cases and 11,000 deaths annually. Important outcome differences exist among ethnic, gender, and geographical groups. African Americans (AA) with SCCHN experience higher recurrence rates and worse survival, even after adjusting for disease and demographic variables.[2, 3] Despite treatment advances, this outcome disparity has persisted for decades. Current treatment regimens for SCCHN have evolved to employ combination chemo radiotherapy as a means to preserve organ function. These combination approaches are fundamentally limited by non-specific toxicity. In an effort to improve treatment outcomes and reduce toxicity, targeted therapeutic protocols are emerging. For example, based on the recognized association between Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) over-expression and increased locoregional recurrence, antibody targeting of the EGFR is currently being studied as a means to replace non-specific chemotherapeutics. Based on evidence that EGFR over-expression for other solid tumors is higher in AA and correlates with worse survival, it is likely that response to EGFR targeted therapeutics will differ among ethnic groups. Furthermore, because the success of such antibody based approaches is likely predicated on both EGFR blockade and antibody mediated cytotoxicity, it is also probable that FcyR polymorphisms will influence outcome. The specific hypothesis for this proposal is that differences in EGFR over-expression and NK FcyR polymorphisms differ among AA and Whites and are associated with survival and response to antibody mediated therapies. The specific aims are designed to provide a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between ethnic differences in EGFR over-expression and FcyR polymorphisms and clinical outcomes.
The ACS Institutional Research Grant provides seed money to new investigators without a national competitive research grant, so that they can obtain preliminary results that will enable them to compete successfully for national research grants.
Announcements requesting proposals for 2007 pilot project awards will be made in the fall with the grants starting on January 1, 2007. For additional information on applying for an award, please contact Mark F. Kochevar, Administrative Director, or Helen K. Mourat, Grants and Contracts Administrator, UMGCC, at 410-328-7516