Cancer Research Team Lands Wisconsin's Only 'Provocative Questions' Grant
Madison, Wisconsin - A team of researchers at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center was the only group of scientists in Wisconsin to receive a grant from a new National Cancer Institute program aimed at answering “provocative questions.”
Research scientist Richard Halberg, oncologist William Schelman, and surgeon Greg Kennedy will use a two-year $360,000 grant to investigate if there is a way to tell if non-malignant lesions found in a colonoscopy will progress to invasive or metastatic colorectal cancer.
The answer could help identify patients at higher risk for developing colon cancer at screening and could also reduce the need for aggressive treatment of such lesions if there is no risk of progression to cancer.
Halberg, Schelman, and Kennedy received the grant under the new Provocative Questions initiative, which is designed to fund major unsolved or neglected problems in oncology. The NCI got 750 applications and awarded only 50 grants.
The UW Carbone Cancer Center study of non-malignant lesions found in colorectal-cancer screening is a nagging, important question that needs more attention, according to NCI director Harold Varmus.
“Not all lesions detected early are worth treating. But uncertainties about the behavior of a non-malignant lesion often lead to more aggressive treatment than may be warranted,” said Halberg.
The team noted that better understanding of lesions could help identify those with the potential to develop into invasive or metastatic cancer. Finally, the research could also help clinicians to communicate to patients the risks and benefits of treatment options.
Under Varmus’ leadership, the NCI created the Provocative Questions initiative, which identified 24 questions, which if answered, could lead to significant research advances. The NCI set aside $22 million to fund research on 20 of the questions.
Date Published: 10/17/2012