Mechanisms for Activation of Beige Adipose Tissue in Humans

We have been studying subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SC WAT) beiging in response to mirabegron, which is a ß3 adrenergic receptor (ß3AR) agonist. ß3ARs are found in adipocytes and smooth muscle, and mirabegron is an FDA approved drug for overactive bladder. Treatment of obese, insulin resistant humans for twelve weeks with mirabegron consistently induced SC WAT beiging and this led to improved oral glucose tolerance and a lower HbA1c. This may be exploited to prevent conversion of prediabetes to diabetes or used as a therapeutic in diabetics. This application will also increase our understanding of the mechanism(s) by which mirabegron acts, which may reveal new therapeutic targets.

Investigator(s):
P. Kern
Jin Chen

Funding:
1R01DK124626-01A1 (NINDS)

Read more >

Retention, Maintenance and Enhancement of the Communities Actively Research Exposure Study (CARES)

This award will retain the over 600 child-parent pairs identified in the Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study (CARES), enhance the robust dataset with internal exposure characterization during early childhood development, and build the infrastructure needed to share the unique data within the cohort.

Investigator(s):
E. Haynes
D Harris
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
1R24ES030904-01 (NIEHS)

Read more >

Noninvasive Noncontact High-Density Optical Imaging of Neonatal Intraventricular Hemorrhage

This study will fulfill a critical need in the field of neonatology to provide objective outcome measures to guide the timing of treatment for GM-IVH and HCP. We anticipate that noninvasive, repeated, and longitudinal cerebral monitoring for the guidance of interventions could be eventually implemented as standard clinical practice in NICUs.

Investigator(s):
Guoqiang Yu
Shawn Cheng

Funding:
1R01HD101508-01 (NICHHD)

Read more >

Advanced End-to-End Relation Extraction with Deep Neural Networks

The fundamental unit of knowledge in information science is typically encoded as a relation connecting a pair of entities via a predicate (or relation type). Examples in biomedicine include gene-disease associations, drug-disease treatment relations, and drug-drug interactions, which are directly linked to identifying new drug targets (enabling precision medicine), finding new indications (e.g., off-label use, repositioning), and surveilling adverse events, respectively. In this project, we propose novel end-to-end relation extraction (RE) approaches leveraging recent advances in neural networks building on preliminary results from our NLM funded RE project (R21LM012274). Our main hypothesis is that our end-to-end joint modeling approaches will yield statistically significant performance gains in RE, across-the-board, when compared with traditional pipelines consisting of separately trained models.

Investigator(s):
Rama Kavuluru

Funding:
1R01LM013240-01A1 (NLM)

Read more >

Remote Alcohol Monitoring to Facilitate Abstinence Reinforcement with an Underserved Population

Lifetime prevalence of DSM-5 alcohol use disorder in the United States is 29%, but only 20 to 24% of people with alcohol use disorder ever seek treatment. Through the use of technological advancements combined in a novel way with abstinence incentives, the proposed research has the potential to provide a framework for bringing effective, evidence-based treatments to a large number of individuals with alcohol use disorder who are currently underserved by existing treatment options or are unable to maintain abstinence after detoxification.

Investigator(s):
M. Koffarnus
V K Cody Bumgardner

Funding:
5R01AA026605-03 (NIAAA)

Read more >

University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center - Cancer Center Support Grant

The Markey Cancer Center (MCC) was established more than 35 years ago as a university-based matrix cancer center at the University of Kentucky (UK), Kentucky’s flagship institution of higher education. MCC is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Cancer Center in Kentucky, a state of 4.4 million that leads the nation for all-site cancer incidence and mortality and serves as the MCC’s catchment area.

Investigator(s):
B. Evers
Eric Durbin
Rama Kavuluru
Hunter Moseley
Sally Ellingson
JC Jeong

Funding:
5P30CA177558-08 (NCI)

Read more >

DATA-Kentucky CAN HEAL (Communities and Networks Helping End Addiction)

This large-scale, community-based project will leverage evidence-based interventions to reduce overdose, including expanding access to treatment, overdose prevention training, naloxone distribution, improving opioid prescribing practices and safe disposal of opioids.

Investigator(s):
S. Walsh
Jeffery Talbert
H Bush
D Harris

Funding:
5UM1DA049406-02 (NIDA)

Read more >

Smokeless Tobacco Reference Product Development, Distribution and Research

Since 1968 the University of Kentucky has provided reference tobacco products (including the most recent 1R6F reference cigarette) as standards for non-clinical investigational purposes by tobacco manufacturers, contract and government laboratories, and academic institutions. The University of Kentucky, Center for Tobacco Reference Products (CTRP) is committed to supplying certified standards for research and to working with the FDA to develop new certified reference products as necessary. This project will produce and characterize smokeless tobacco reference products representative of loose moist snuff, pouched snus, and loose leaf chewing tobacco.

Investigator(s):
O. Chambers
Eric Durbin

Funding:
5UC2FD005671-05 (FDA)

Read more >

CAREER: Linking Structure, Stability and Protection in Protamine Packaged DNA

The goals of this project are to use a multidisciplinary array of tools to establish fundamental knowledge of the mechanisms by which nature utilizes protamines to package, protect and store DNA in sperm cells. The project spans the disciplines of molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics and analytical chemistry. The unique properties of protamines also have promise for new biotechnological applications in the creation of novel devices for DNA delivery and the development of biosensor technologies.

Funding:
1453168 (NSF)

Read more >

Continuous and Longitudinal Monitoring of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism in Freely Moving Rodents

In combination with our ongoing R21 studies in humans, completion of this study in rodents will generate a unique noninvasive, low-cost, fast, multiscale, and multimodal brain imaging tool for both neuroscience research and clinical applications.

Investigator(s):
Guoqiang Yu
Shawn Cheng

Funding:
1R56NS117587-01 (NINDS)

Read more >

The Biological Mechanisms of Metformin Effects on Aging-Associated Inflammation

One of the most glaring gaps in our understanding of cancer progression is the issue of disease recurrence and how best to manage it. While primary treatment of localized tumors will often lead to long-term control or remission, many cancer survivors remain at risk for recurrences, which will require further intervention, with associated clinical resource use, adverse psychosocial effects, and costs. The objective of this proposal is to advance surveillance science by developing, validating and deploying a scalable, automated approach for identifying cancer recurrence.

Investigator(s):
B. Nikolajczyk
Jin Chen

Funding:
1R56AG069685-01 (NIA)

Read more >

Small Vessel Disease Biomarkers in a Longitudinally-Followed "Stroke-Belt" Cohort

Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID) describes cognitive impairment resulting from cerebrovascular disease or dysfunction. VCID is a frequent co-morbidity with Alzheimer¡¦s disease (AD), as well as a single dementia-causing entity. The most common vasculopathy associated with cognitive impairment is cerebral small vessel disease (SVD). One major obstacle for therapeutic development is the lack of biomarkers that are predictive of the presence and course of SVD-VCID. In this proposal we present candidate biomarkers for SV-VCID that will contribute to the consortium. We have identified MRI imaging modalities of 3D FLAIR, ASL, and DTI as our imaging candidate biomarkers. In this project we plan to develop our candidate biomarkers and validating them through the UH2 phase an individual research group, and also through the UH3 part as a member of the consortium.

Investigator(s):
D. Wilcock
Shawn Cheng

Funding:
5UH3NS100606-05 (NINDS)

Read more >

STAN-CT: Standardization and Normalization of CT Images for Lung Cancer Patients

Our work has three specific aims: Aim 1. To develop a computational platform to standardize and normalize medical images acquired using various parameters. Aim 2. To deploy and test GANai for image standardization and normalization locally. Aim 3. To deploy and test GANai for image standardization and normalization across three medical centers. Finally, we will distribute the software package of GANai for public use.

Investigator(s):
Jin Chen

Funding:
1R21CA231911-02 (NCI)

Read more >

Training in Drug Abuse Related Research

Training the next generation of drug abuse researchers is critical to current and future public health challenges associated with drug addiction. The goal is to prepare trainees for productive and successful careers in drug abuse research.

Funding:
5T32DA016176-15 (NIDA)

Read more >

UK-ADC Core C: Data Management and Statistical Core

Data Management and Statistical Core The Data Management and Statistical (DMS) Core can be conceptualized as the lynchpin for integration of theADC Cores and is vital to the success of the UK-ADC. Its critical roles include managing a large centralized database, consulting with ADC-affiliated researchers, and working to develop and apply innovative statisticalmethodology for data analysis. Data management efforts focus on collecting and storing high quality data.

Funding:
5P30AG028383-15 (NIA)

Read more >

Supplement: Cost Extension - Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science

The Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science provides infrastructure, services, and programs to support clinical and translational investigators, and to foster collaborations that facilitate research translation and team science.

Investigator(s):
P. Kern
Jeffery Talbert
H Bush
Hunter Moseley
Jin Chen

Funding:
3UL1TR001998-04S1 (NCATS)

Read more >

SEER: NCI Patterns of Care (POC)/Quality of Care Study: Diagnosis Years 2017 (NSCLC) and 2018 (NSCLC and Melanoma)

SEER Patterns of Care/Quality of Care Studies (POC/QOC) describe, characterize, and compare practice patterns and treatments provided for cancer in different geographic areas of the United States. Therefore, this yearfs POC/QOC Study shall investigate patterns of care for biomarker testing and targeted cancer therapy for patients with advanced non]small cell lung cancer and melanoma.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin

Funding:
75N91019F00130 (NCI)

Read more >

The role of exosomes on brain inflammation and microglia activation in alcohol use disorder

(no abstract)

Investigator(s):
H. Peng
Jin Chen

Funding:
5R21AA025563-02 (NIAAA)

Read more >

CAREER: Developing Biochemoinformatics Tools for Large-Scale Metabolomics Applications

The proposed research will create computational tools that analyze and derive unique mechanistic information from large datasets available from cutting-edge metabolomics technologies which track atomic level changes in the production and utilization of thousands of molecules (metabolites) inside the cells of organisms.

Funding:
1419282 (NSF)

Read more >

Extracting meaning from unstructured biomedical text: Focus on binary relations

This project will develop natural language processing techniques to extract binary relationships from electronic medical records using neural networks and UMLS semantic network.

Investigator(s):
Rama Kavuluru

Read more >

Informatics at the Kentucky Cancer Registry: Infrastructure, data analysis, and precision cancer surveillance

Expanding the use of informatics at the Kentucky Cancer Registry

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
Rama Kavuluru

Read more >

Lung cancer in Appalachian Kentucky: Deciphering genetic influences

Study finds genetic mutations in Appalachian lung cancers

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
Sally Ellingson
Hunter Moseley

Read more >

Rural Health Research Grant Program Cooperative Agreement

Kentucky Center for Rural Health, Sub-project focused on barriers and disparities associated with pneumococcal immunization among rural elderly adults.

Investigator(s):
T Borders
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
2U1CRH30041-05 (HRSA)

Read more >

Kentucky Overdose Data to Action

Through improved surveillance and targeted evidenced-based interventions, Kentucky OD2A hopes to impact inappropriate opioid prescribing, opioid misuse and opioid use disorder, patient standard of care, referrals to SUD treatment and sustained recovery, and fatal and non-fatal overdoses, to improve Kentuckian health outcomes.

Investigator(s):
T Bunn
D Harris
H Bush
Jin Chen

Funding:
5NU17CE924971-02 (CDC)

Read more >

Identification of Lung Adenocarcinoma Subtypes using Radiogenomics and Deep Learning

Identifying lung adenocarcinoma subtypes is advantageous not only for individual patient care but also for improved patient selection for current treatment options. Our goal is to enable precise lung adenocarcinoma subtyping by developing a unified radiogenomic framework using deep learning. Using recent advances in high-resolution CT machines, next-gen sequencing, and deep learning, we expect to identify key characteristics towards the development of new lung adenocarcinoma subtyping criteria, which once developed, could remarkably change treatment paradigms and significantly improve prognosis.

Investigator(s):
Jin Chen
Eric Durbin
JC Jeong

Funding:
PO2 415 1600001032 (KY Lung Cancer Research Fund)

Read more >

NSF Convergence Accelerator - Track D: Intelligent Surveillance Platform for Damage Detection and Localization of Civil Infrastructure

Qiang Cheng will be a subcontractor of the full NSF project awarded to Howard University, with his work mainly focusing on the following research activities: (a) Development of a prototype of a validated software module to extract displacements from a video that will automatically find and track key points from physical systems. For validation, the available experimentally measured displacements will be used to compare with the results that are extracted from the videos. (b) Development of a proof of concept of a calibrated ML-based damage detection and localization algorithm for a simple structure. The calibration will be based on the analysis of available data sets, simple laboratory experiments, and numerical simulations. He will be also helping other researchers, when necessary, with the development of other research activities of the proposed NSF project, including but not limited to the following: (c) Development of a prototype of a validated multi-resolution analysis module that logs responses of interest and processes video data to quantify damage features. This module extracts direct measures from the video point tracking such as displacement, deformation, and rotations. It also processes the video collected data to estimate variations of dynamic properties of the structures such as stiffness and damping. (d) Preliminary mapping for damage characterization and definition of features for uncertainty quantification for the selected benchmarks structural systems. (e) Selection of three benchmark structural systems to apply the proposed platform in Phase II. This selection will be made with the support of the industry advisory committee.

Investigator(s):
Shawn Cheng

Funding:
00009861 -1000095661 2040665 (NSF, subaward from Howard University)

Read more >

Natural Language Processing Platform for Cancer Surveillance

This UG3/UH3 proposal is in response to Research Area 1 of PAR 16-349 specifically addressing the development of natural language processing (NLP) tools to facilitate automatic/unsupervised/minimally supervised extraction of specific discrete cancer-related data from various types of unstructured electronic medical records (EMRs).

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
Rama Kavuluru
JC Jeong

Funding:
GENFD0001862257 5UG3CA243120-02 (NCI, Subaward Boston Children’s Hospital)

Read more >

Enhancing EMERSE, the Electronic Medical Record Search Engine

UK will test and evaluate the EMERSE tool, documenting and reporting problems, communicate challenges and help UM improve the software and documentation and develop the regulatory/compliance infrastructure including IRB approvals so that the tool can be deployed at multiple sites.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
D Harris
Jeffery Talbert
JC Jeong

Funding:
3004700014 5U24CA204863-04 (NCI, Subaward D. Hanauer- University of Michigan)

Read more >

ReCAPSE: Recurrence using Claims and PROs for SEER Enhancement

One of the most glaring gaps in our understanding of cancer progression is the issue of disease recurrence and how best to manage it. The objective of this proposal is to advance surveillance science by developing, validating and deploying a scalable, automated approach for identifying cancer recurrence. The addition of information on disease recurrence to cancer registry data will materially add to the portfolio of information about the burden of disease and open a whole new frontier in cancer research. Our proposed work will constitute a key step forward in making this vision a reality.

Investigator(s):
B. Huang
Eric Durbin
JC Jeong

Funding:
001033528 4UH3CA218909-03 (Fred Hutchinson Research Center)

Read more >

Management of Information Research, and Data Support: DBHDID

This project provides business intelligence analytics and decision support to the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental, and Intellectual Disabilities.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper
T. West
W. Overstreet

Funding:
PON2 729 2000002761 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Sexually Transmitted Disease Testing in Medicaid Populations

This project estimates state Medicaid analyses of health claims to assess syphilis testing among pregnant Medicaid beneficiaries and rates of STI testing of state Medicaid beneficiaries on PrEP.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
775.2020.005 (AcademyHealth)

Read more >

Quality Assurance & Waiver Assurance

The purpose of the MFP project is to plan and evaluate the relocation of clients in nursing facilities back to a community setting.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper

Funding:
PON2 746 200000181 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Research Outcomes for Waiver Assessment Tool

This project designs and develops an evaluation of the Home Care Community Waiver program for the Kentucky Department of Medicaid Services.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper

Funding:
PON2 746 2000002194 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Research Outcomes – Money Follows the Person

The purpose of the MFP project is to plan and evaluate the relocation of clients in nursing facilities back to a community setting.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper
T. West
W. Overstreet

Funding:
PON2 746 2000002169 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Research, Data Analytics, Program Outcomes- DMS

The purpose of the project is to assist the Cabinet with analytic support to develop and implement an evidence based quality improvement program, including data integration, data mining, and program analysis and evaluation.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper
A. Taylor
W. Overstreet

Funding:
PON2 721 2000003082 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Assessing the Impact of Opioid Prescription Duration Limits

The proposed study will measure the impact of the Opioid Reduction Act on prescription patterns, health care use, and health outcomes. Crucially, we will assess both intended and unintended impacts of the policy. We will address this important knowledge gap by using an innovative “dose response” event-study methodology.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
19-565-UKRF 1R21DA050047-01A1 (Subaward PI: L. Allen- West Virginia University)

Read more >

Behavioral Health Initiative / Support ACT 1003 Grant

This project designs and develops an evaluation of the expanded behavioral health services provided under the ACA expansion in Kentucky.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
T. Harper

Funding:
PON2 746 2000002586 (KCHFS)

Read more >

State Medicaid Fees for Services Related to Opioid Use Disorder: Building the Evidence-Base to Inform State Policies

This project develops a state code crosswalk to build a database of the Medicaid fee schedule for approximately 25 key services related to evidence-based opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment across a variety of settings (e.g., outpatient, inpatient) for each of the 50 states.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
102138-0001-UK-01 (Urban Institute)

Read more >

Examining the quality of opioid use disorder treatment in a Medicaid research network

This project will provide a comprehensive assessment of opioid use disorder treatment quality and outcomes in Medicaid and will inform policy decisions on coverage and payment for evidence-based opioid use disorder treatment in Medicaid.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert

Funding:
AWD00000068 (132578-4) (Subaward, PI: Donohue University of Pittsburgh)

Read more >

Enhancing Infrastructure for Clinical and Translational Research to Address the Opioid Epidemic

This project involves development and evaluation of data analytic approaches to capture phenotypes of opioid overdose patients presenting to the emergency and other hospital settings from electronic health records.

Investigator(s):
Jeffery Talbert
D Harris

Funding:
A200049S002 (Subaward PI: Lenert Medical University of South Carolina)

Read more >

Biomarkers for Cognitive Outcomes after Mechanical Thrombectomy for Emergent Large Vessel Occlusion (ELVO)

Emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) ischemic stroke continues to be a leading cause of death and disability globally,1 accounting for 30-40% of all ischemic stroke, or ~340,000 patients in the U.S. alone each year. Intravenous thrombolytic agents and mechanical thrombectomy (endovascular removal of the thrombus using suction and/or stent-retriever devices) have greatly improved the ability to restore blood flow during a stroke; in fact, thrombectomy improves patient outcomes even if initiated 24 hours after stroke onset.2-4 Despite receiving these effective interventions to re-establish blood flow, many patients still experience long-term cognitive and functional deficits. Therefore, while thrombectomy provides a significant and clinically important outcome benefit over thrombolysis alone for ELVO patients, there remains a clinical need for biomarkers to provide prognostic insight into neurological outcomes in order to guide individual patient treatment and rehabilitation.

Investigator(s):
J. Harp
Shawn Cheng

Funding:
No ID - APA (American Psychology Association)

Read more >

Natural Language Processing Platform for Cancer Surveillance

This UG3/UH3 proposal is in response to Research Area 1 of PAR 16-349 specifically addressing the development of natural language processing (NLP) tools to facilitate automatic/unsupervised/minimally supervised extraction of specific discrete cancer-related data from various types of unstructured electronic medical records (EMRs). The current proposal builds on the work under a supplement funded by the NCI Informatics Tools for Cancer Research (ITCR) program (https://itcr.cancer.gov/ - U24CA132672 parent project) on the advanced development of a software platform for performing deep phenotype extraction directly from EMR of patients with cancer (DeepPhe, cancer.healthnlp.org, May 1, 2014-April 30, 2019).

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
Rama Kavuluru
JC Jeong

Funding:
GENFD0001862257 (Boston Children’s Hospital)

Read more >

Toward Fine-Grained E-Cigarette Surveillance on Social Media: Evolving Themes, Popularity Predictors, and Demographic Variations

Electronic cigarettes (or e-cigs) are currently a popular emerging tobacco product. Because e-cigs do not generate toxic tobacco combustion products produced when smoking regular cigarettes, they are perceived and sometimes promoted as a less harmful alternative to smoking and also as a means to quit smoking. In this project, we propose to computationally analyze the contents and user profiles available in the dataset of all e-cig tweets and subreddit messages generated during the 12 month period 7/16 to 6/17.

Investigator(s):
Rama Kavuluru

Funding:
5R21CA218231-02 REVISED (NCI)

Read more >

FY21 Macrophage derived Engineered Vesicles for Preventing Metastases in Pediatric Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in children. The five year survival is currently 70%, and metastases is the most common complication in the 30% of patients that die of their disease. Emerging evidence suggests tumor-associated macrophages are critical to the development of metastases in osteosarcoma. Our hypothesis is that re-polarizing M2 macrophages back to cancer eliminating M1 macrophages would prevent metastases. To re-polarize the macrophages, we have already developed Macrophage derived EngineereD vesicles (MEDs). This work will lay the foundation for a first in human clinical trial of MEDs for the treatment of osteosarcoma.

Investigator(s):
J. Kolesar
Sally Ellingson

Funding:
PON2 728 2000002500 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Collaborative Research: CICI: Secure and Resilient Architecture: NetSecOps -- Policy-driven, Knowledge-centric, Holistic Network Security Operations Architecture

University campus infrastructures count among the most complex and sophisticated information technology (IT) deployments; often combining a mix of enterprise, retail and healthcare environments with IT requirements derived from the university’s teaching and research mission. Dealing with the security of this environment is particularly challenging. We propose to address these challenges through a collaborative research effort between the University of Utah and the University of Kentucky. We propose the realization of NetSecOps, a policy-driven, knowledgecentric, holistic network security operations architecture.

Investigator(s):
J. Griffioen
V K Cody Bumgardner

Funding:
1642134 (NSF)

Read more >

Methods and Tools for Integrating Pathomics Data into Cancer Registries

Our goal is to incorporate enrich SEER registry data with high-quality population-based biospecimen data in the form of digital pathology and quantitative pathomics feature sets to advance the development of imaging-based biomarkers for precision medicine. Our strategy is to create a well-curated repository of high-quality digitized pathology images, for subjects whose data is being collected by the registries.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin

Funding:
88818/2/1162912 (Research Foundation of State University of New York)

Read more >

Covid 19: Evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 Positivity, Genetic Risk Factors & Outcomes in Patients Enrolled in TCC

(None provided)

Investigator(s):
J. Kolesar
Eric Durbin

Funding:
(No ID - M2Gen) (M2Gen Corporation)

Read more >

Carryover: Pediatric Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors C2417

Through basic and clinical cancer research, long-term outcomes for pediatric cancer patients have steadily increased over several decades. Whereas cancer in children was almost uniformly fatal, now the majority of children with cancer can expect to survive. These projects represent state-of-the-art team science whose focus spans the range of common childhood malignancies and whose collaborative investigators bring translational strength. Our goal, like that of the Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund, is to reduce the burden of disease caused by childhood malignancies in our state.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
JC Jeong

Funding:
PON2 728 2000002682 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Cancer Prevention and Control Programs for State Territorial and Tribal Organizations - NCCCP

In a state where multiple public, private and volunteer efforts endeavor to respond, Kentucky’s need for an integrated and comprehensive approach to cancer prevention and control is greater than ever. The Kentucky Cancer Consortium (KCC) provides just such a forum, encouraging and catalyzing collaboration to help ensure the most efficient and effective utilization of cancer prevention and control resources. The Kentucky Cancer Registry (KCR) is highly integrated with the KCC. The Registry provides data to KCC that are used to develop, revise and evaluate the statewide Cancer Action Plan.

Investigator(s):
P. Hull
Eric Durbin

Funding:
6NU58DP006313-04-02 (NCCDPH)

Read more >

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program

The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program is a source of information on cancer incidence, treatment, and survival in the United States. Participation in the SEER program also gave KCR the opportunity to significantly improve the accuracy and completeness of follow-up information on all cancer patients in the Registry. KCR currently collects uniform, high quality data that meet SEER standards for approximately 29,500 new primary cancer cases occurring in Kentucky residents each year.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin

Funding:
HHSN26100001 (NCI)

Read more >

FY21 Germline and Environmental Factors Associated with Pediatric Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors in Kentucky

Pediatric brain and central nervous system tumors (PBCNST) are the most common solid tumors and are the leading cause of disease-related death in United States (U.S.) children. Our team is currently engaged in a successful Kentucky Pediatric Cancer Research Trust Fund population-based study to identify factors associated with the high incidence of PBCNST in Kentucky. This subsequent study proposes to expand upon the depth and breadth of the PBNCST data through the collection of non-cancerous specimens, environmental samples, and information directly from the PBCNST survivors and their families. The proposed enhancements promote a deeper understanding of these tumors and risk factors and may further elucidate opportunities for screening and preventative measures for Kentucky and other children.

Investigator(s):
Eric Durbin
JC Jeong

Funding:
PON2 728 2000002521 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Pediatric Molecular Tumor Board C2448: CL 1: FY21 Pediatric Molecular Tumor Board

There is a significant gap in clinical knowledge on the applicability of targeted therapies and the prognostic value of molecular profiling determinants in pediatric brain tumor patients. We propose a prospective study of next generation sequencing and germline testing for all pediatric brain tumor patients in the state of Kentucky. The information from this testing will be included in a state-wide population registry, that will allow for future retrospective studies on outcomes and will help in understanding these diseases in our patient population.

Investigator(s):
J. Villano
Eric Durbin
JC Jeong

Funding:
PON2 728 2000003191 (KCHFS)

Read more >

Identifying Novel Drug Targets in Melanoma

esistance is a major problem that prevents long-term survival for patients with metastatic melanoma. We show that Abl kinases are activated by BRAF and Src, and drive resistance to BRAF/MEK inhibitors. Moreover, inhibitors of Abl/Arg and Akt, a pathway associated with resistance, cooperate to block mutant BRAF/PTEN melanoma growth, in vivo. We will test the following hypotheses: i) ERK activation by NRAS->CRAF or BRAF plays a critical role in activating Abl/Arg (Aim 1A); Abl/Arg are further activated in patient samples following resistance to ERK pathway therapy (Aim 1B); Abl/Arg inhibitor combinations effectively treat resistance by influencing cancer stem cell expansion (Aim 2).

Investigator(s):
R. Plattner
Eric Durbin

Funding:
No ID (LT) (Harry J Lloyd Charitable Trust)

Read more >

Implementing Cancer Precision Medicine in India

The overarching goal of this application is to develop a sustained research collaboration in cancer precision medicine between Markey Cancer Center (MCC) and Tata Memorial. We propose to train a team of four individuals; a medical oncologist, pathologist, epidemiologist, and pharmacologist experienced in genomics. Primary selection criteria will be experience, career plans consist with cancer precision medicine and diversity.

Investigator(s):
J. Kolesar
Eric Durbin

Funding:
DAA3-19-65780-1 (CRDF Global)

Read more >

Sulfiredoxin-mediated Metabolic Alterations in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, in particular, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common and fatal cancer in Kentucky. Like all other cancer cells, NSCLC cells are heavily dependent on glucose consumption via lactic fermentation (the Warburg effect) to satisfy energy needs for growth and proliferation. We have demonstrated that Srx is highly expressed in tumor specimens of NSCLC patients but absent in cancer adjacent normal and pulmonary tissue of healthy individuals. Our preliminary data demonstrate that targeted depletion of Srx in NSCLC cells leads to the inhibition of glycolysis Therefore, we hypothesize that Srx functions as a metabolic switch in NSCLC cells to determine the route of glucose metabolism by regulating critical metabolic enzymes.

Investigator(s):
Q. Wei
Eric Durbin

Funding:
PO2 415 1100000368 (KY Lung Cancer RF)

Read more >