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GI SPORE at UK Markey Cancer Center Fact Sheet 

View GI SPORE at UK Markey Cancer Center Fact Sheet (PDF, 129 KB)

What is the GI SPORE?

In 1992, the National Cancer Institute established Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs) to reduce cancer incidence and mortality as well as improve survival and the quality of life in cancer patients. SPOREs are funded through specialized center grants that promote interdisciplinary research and move basic research findings from the laboratory to clinical settings, involving both cancer patients and populations at risk of cancer.

In 2009, the National Cancer Institute awarded UK Markey Cancer Center a three-year GI SPORE grant for $1.5 million. The GI SPORE is focused on the gastrointestinal system, including cancers of the colon, rectum, stomach, esophagus, small intestine, liver, gallbladder and other digestive organs.

UK HealthCare is one of only six GI SPORES in the country. The others are at Vanderbilt University, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Arizona.

Benefits of the GI SPORE

In 2009, an estimated 250,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a gastrointestinal cancer. More than half that number will die from the disease, making GI cancers the second leading cause of cancer death in the nation. The goal of the GI SPORE is to reduce the number of people with gastrointestinal cancer while increasing the number of cancer survivors. To accomplish this goal, laboratory and clinical scientists work together to create research programs that impact cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and control.

At a medical center with a SPORE, research moves 'from bench to bedside' much more quickly, meaning that patients benefit from new breakthroughs in that field sooner than you would at a medical center without a SPORE.

GI SPORE projects

The GI SPORE at UK Markey Cancer Center is focused on two projects:

One study is investigating more targeted therapies for colorectal cancer after it has spread to other areas of the body. When this cancer is caught early (Stage I), the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. However, once it has spread to the lymph nodes and beyond(Stages III and IV), the survival rate is less than 5 percent. By systematically analyzing these advanced cancers to detect certain components associated with their spread, researchers hope to identify treatments to improve survival.

Another SPORE project, performed in collaboration with investigators at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, seeks to better understand the link between the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and liver cancer. Liver cancer is one of the most rapidly increasing types of cancer in the United States. This increase is associated with the growing prevalence of people with chronic HCV. This project will examine cellular processes and interactions at work in liver cancer caused by HCV infection.

For more information

National Cancer Institute 

Page last updated: 10/16/2013 3:40:42 PM