Research Projects and Resource Cores

The MVT Cancer Partnership currently funds 3 full projects and 1 pilot project:

Full Projects

Defining the Immune Footprint in Tumor Microenvironment Following High Salt Synergized Inflammatory Cytokine Mediated Breast Cancer Progression

Project Leaders:
Venkataswarup Tiriveedhi, MD, PhD (TSU)
Jens Titze, MD (VICC)
Anil Shanker, PhD (MMC)

Specific Aims:

  1. Define and characterize the temporal effect on the functional changes in early and late-stage high salt induced tumor infiltrating Treg, Th17, and macrophages leading to breast cancer progression.
  2. Determining the role of immune check-point inhibitors and low salt-diet leading to immune activation and reduction of T-cell suppression in the late-stage high salt-tumor microenvironment potentially leading suppression of tumor proliferation and progression

Project Summary

Personalized Smoking Cessation Treatment in the Southern Community Cohort

Project Leaders:
Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH (VICC)
Maureen Sanderson, PhD, MPH (MMC)
Rebecca Selove PhD, MPH (TSU)

Specific Aims:

  1. To assess the attitudes and beliefs of SCCS smokers about genetically-tailored treatment of tobacco use
  2. To use the information obtained in Aim 1, as well as guidance from the U54 CAB, to adapt two personalized interventions for smoking cessation
  3. To conduct a pilot trial of these personalized interventions for smoking cessation in the SCCS.

Novel Mechanisms of SKP2 and AR Signaling on Suppression of Prostate Cancer

Project Leaders:
Zhenbang Chen, PhD (MMC)
Robert Matusik, PhD (VICC)

Specific Aims:

  1. Define the mechanisms on the regulation of FOXA1/AR by SKP2 in prostate cancer cells.
  2. Study the molecular profiling of FOXA1/AR signaling by SKP2 in prostate cancer cells.
  3. Investigate the efficacy of combined inhibition of SKP2 and AR on prostate cancer progression in vivo in mouse models.

Pilot Project

Roles of Proinflammatory Chemokines Linking Obesity and Ovarian Cancer

Project Leaders:
Deok-Soo Son, DVM, PhD (MMC)
Alicia Beeghly-Fadiel, MPH, PhD (VICC)
Margaret Whalen, PhD (TSU)

Specific Aims:

  1. Define the role of an obesity-derived inflammatory burden via pro-inflammatory chemokines on the progression of ovarian cancer
  2. Define the molecular mechanisms by which obesity promotes a higher level of pro-inflammatory chemokines in TP53 mutant ovarian cancer cells compared to TP53 wild-type

Resource Cores

Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core

Core Leaders:

Yu Shyr, PhD (VICC)
Hui Yu, PhD (VICC & Meharry)
Owen Johnson, PhD (TSU)

Specific Aims:

  1. To provide consultative services for investigators in statistical design, power analysis, sample size estimation, data analysis, interpretation of results and the writing of manuscripts.
  2. To collaborate with grant applicants and write the statistical analysis sections of their grants.
  3. To collaborate on funded research efforts initiated by investigators, providing statistical data analysis, interpretation of results, and assistance in the preparation of manuscripts, abstracts and posters for publication and conferences.
  4. To develop and evaluate statistical methods for experimental design and data analysis.

Cancer Outreach Core

Core Leaders:
Oscar Miller, PhD (TSU)
Maureen Sanderson, PhD (MMC)
Pamela Hull, PhD (VICC)

Specific Aims:

  1. Convene a Community Advisory Board to facilitate input into MVCTP activities and research projects and promote community awareness of the MVTCP
  2. Support community-engaged research projects on cancer prevention, cancer survivorship, and minority participation in clinical research.
  3. Advance a research agenda to develop and test culturally-appropriate outreach strategies through community-engaged research.
  4. Contribute to the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) National Outreach Network on a coordinated agenda to identify, develop, and disseminate health promotion and cancer education information.

Clinical Trials Core

Core Leaders:
Philip Lammers, MD (MMC)
Sandeep Anatha, MD (MMC)
Jill Gilbert, MD (VICC)

Specific Aims:

  1. Define and prioritize clinical trials that are relevant to the patient base of Nashville General Hospital at Meharry (NGHM).
  2. Assist in the Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement of the clinical trials office of NGHM
  3. Synergize with the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) grant to facilitate accrual to clinical trials.
  4. Promote and support the development of MMC and VICC investigator-initiated trials from pilot data from clinician, laboratory, and epidemiological researchers.
  5. Enhance the educational experience of the Vanderbilt University Hematology/Oncology Fellowship by involvement in clinical research involving a minority and medically underserved population.

Translational Pathology Core

Core Leaders:

Billy Ballard, DDS, MD (MMC)
Shawn Goodwin, PhD (MMC)
Jim Goldenring, MD, PhD (VICC)

Specific Aims:

  1. To provide high-quality routine and specialized histopathology and bright field and fluorescence microscopic imaging services to investigators on a fee-for-service basis
  2. To provide anatomic and clinical diagnostic pathology services for human and animal tissues.
  3. To continue collecting, processing, banking, cataloging and distributing quality de-identified human cancer and matched normal tissue samples collected at NGHM, with the goal of maintaining a repository where over 50% of the tissue samples are derived from African American and other minority subjects.
  4. To strengthen collaborations with Proteomics and Bioinformatics Core facilities at MMC and VICC so that global or discrete populations of cells identified in slides from formalin fixed embedded tissue or within frozen tissue samples may be analyzed using proteomic, genomic and RNAomic technologies.