Specialized Programs of Research Excellence, known as SPOREs, are a cornerstone of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) efforts to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary translational cancer research. SPORE grants involve both basic and clinical/applied scientists working together and support projects that will result in new and diverse approaches to the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center was the first NCI-designated cancer center to win multiple SPOREs. In 2004, research by investigators Stephan Baylin, M.D., and James Herman, M.D., was recognized as the most outstanding in the SPORE program. Today the Cancer Center has SPOREs in:
Head & Neck Cancer
The goal of the Cervical Cancer SPORE is to reduce the incidence, quality-of-life effects, and deaths from cervical cancer by developing next-generation therapeutic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for clinical translation. SPORE projects are translational in nature and address diagnosis, detection, prevention, treatment, and risk assessment for cervical cancer
The Kimmel Cancer Center GI Cancer SPORE is focused on pancreatic cancer. The primary goals are to identify genetic predispositions to the development of pancreatic cancer, develop markers for screening and prognosis that identify early pancreatic cancers that can be cured with surgery, and to develop genetic biomarkers that distinguish harmless pancreatic cysts from those likely to result in cancer.
Head & Neck Cancer
As part of the Johns Hopkins Head and Neck Cancer SPORE, investigators are studying the role of HPV (human papilloma virus) in cancer development and how the virus is transmitted to the upper airway. While the cause of most squamous cell head and neck cancers are linked to environmental exposures (primarily tobacco and alcohol use), 15 to 20 percent of these cancers occur in non-smokers and non-drinkers. Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center were the first to discover that the human papillomavirus (HPV) also is a likely cause of certain cancers of the head and neck and is an indicator of improved survival.
Prostate cancer has become one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in men in the United States and a major cause of cancer-related health issues and cancer deaths. Over the past decade and a half, dedicated prostate cancer research, accomplished by Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer SPORE investigators and other researchers, has led to a remarkable accumulation of knowledge about the molecular mechanisms by which human prostate cancers arise and progress to threaten life. To improve screening, early detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of prostate cancer, these new insights into prostate cancer molecular biology need to be translated into new hypotheses for testing in population studies and in clinical trials. The transcendent objective of the Johns Hopkins Prostate Cancer SPORE is to reduce prostate cancer incidence and death via the focused pursuit of translational research in prostate cancer.